After the wettest summer since records began, the sun shone down on the 940 people who had travelled to London on Sunday 15th July to take part in the 6th annual “CRY Heart of London Bridges Walk”.
As ever, it was a poignant yet positive occasion. It was incredibly moving to see so many people coming together to walk in memory of a friend or family member. However, it was also an opportunity for people to meet up with friends, CRY staff and those who have offered them support; as well as celebrating CRY’s ongoing work to help reduce the incidence of young sudden cardiac death.
Walkers began congregating in the Victoria Embankment Gardens from around 9am – and they couldn’t miss the team from CRY who were all waiting to meet and greet them at the gates, with their bright red T-shirts and the many balloons and banners tethered to the gazebos!
Soon, more and more walkers started to arrive – encouraged by the rare blue skies – and before long it became apparent it was going to be the biggest and best ‘Bridges Walk’ to date!
As well as many of CRY’s long-standing supporters and participants in this flagship event there were many new faces and supporters who had made the journey to London, having been affected by the tragedy of young sudden cardiac death; been diagnosed with a cardiac condition; or just wanting to support CRY.
There were a number of large groups again this year, including Team Tom (walking in memory of Tom Clabburn); the Philip Abraham Team; the Paul Baker Team; the Martyn Simpson Team; Team Toby (walking in memory of Toby Northcote-Green); and over 90 friends and family who took part in memory of 15 year old Lily Webster from Stowmarket in Suffolk. Lily, who was a keen trampolinist, tragically died from a previously undiagnosed heart condition in January this year.
Members of the Stephen Gately Fan Club also returned to London again this year to pay tribute to the singer who died suddenly in 2009. Two of the team had flown in from Germany specifically for the event! In September 2012, Stephen’s younger brother Tony will also be raising funds for CRY by taking part in the Great Scottish Run (more details here).
Whilst following the same route as previous years, the 2012 Walk took in some new sights, including the world famous ‘Shard’ which towered high and glistened in the Sunday sunshine.
As well as the main route, Cara MacMillan from the CRY fundraising team led a group of walkers who wished to take part in a slightly shorter version of the walk, avoiding bridges where there was difficult access or high stairs to climb. This group was slightly bigger than usual, due to the growing number of babies and young children in buggies who also want to join in the fun!
Before the walkers set off at 10.30am, there were introductions from CRY Patron Kathryn Harries (who first launched the event back in 2007 and who has been a keen supporter ever since) and CRY’s Chief Executive and Founder, Alison Cox MBE, who also led a minute’s silence. This was followed by a warm-up with fitness instructor Kirk Douglas and then the official start by former ITV Gladiator (Zodiac), Kate Staples.
The groups then quickly filtered through the park gates and took their first steps along the Thames – heading towards Hays Galleria, where CRY’s welcoming party awaited. The first few groups and individuals arrived back by noon, with others taking a slightly more leisurely stroll!
Article from the
Ealing Today website
We never forget that most of the walkers who take part in the ‘Bridges Walk’ do so for a very personal reason – and the whole CRY team thanks them for their tremendous effort and courage.
Alison Cox said: “It takes enormous courage for someone who has been affected by young sudden cardiac death to be able to see beyond their own tragedy and to want to raise funds for CRY to help save another life and prevent another family having to suffer in the way they have. Once again, I was humbled to see so many wonderful supporters from right across the UK joining us for this high profile and important event in CRY’s calendar. We are hugely grateful for everyone’s magnificent awareness and fundraising efforts on Sunday 15th July. Despite the terrible grief experienced by so many of the families who took part, they still somehow manage to find the strength to support us.”
CRY would like to say a huge “thank you” to all the volunteers who helped make the day such a success – we couldn’t have managed without you!
Lara Badger; Miriam Barriga; Lauren Beacham; Carla Beard; Pezo Benjamin; Sam Benjamin; Gavin Boyce; Karen Burke; George Button; Nancy Button; Paul Clabburn; Krisztina Cserhalmi; Kirk Douglas & Louie; Philip Eastty; Emma Gibb; Johnny Glover; Mary Guinan; Barbara Holland; Jim Holland; AP Juttla; John Lawless; Julie Lockton; Mike Lockton; Koula Louki; Irene McCabe; Veronica Mwondela; Matt Nagamootoo; Maria Nearchou; Ashlea Phillips; Jo Pickard; Pete Robinson; Sue Robinson; Kate Staples & Yolande; Alyson Stokes; Tony Stokes; Erin Tierney; Lesley Tierney; Michaela Thorpe; Julien Upson; Rowena Upson; Will Upson; Susan Walton; Gerry Wright.
This event was supported by Westminster City Council, London Bridge City, Chubb Insurance Group and Cards Made Easy
What this walk achieves for CRY:
Sponsorship and donations raised from the 2012 Bridges Walk went towards funding CRY’s Research Fellowship Programme, which is essential to the services we offer. CRY currently funds 6 doctors, for 2 years, who specialise in the field of inherited cardiac conditions, sudden cardiac death, screening and sports cardiology. The research that they produce advances our understanding of conditions that can lead to young sudden cardiac death. £50,000 will fund a Research Fellow for 1 year, so if 1000 people raise £50 each in sponsorship we could fund a Research Fellow’s valuable work for a full year.
For every £1 donated to fund a Research Fellow:
- 50p will go towards fast track screening services for families who have been affected by young sudden cardiac death
- 30p will go towards medical research into young sudden cardiac death
- 20p will go towards our national screening programme for young people (aged 14-35 years)
Over one year, a CRY funded Research Fellow will:
- Facilitate 250 fast-track referrals to the CRY Centre for Inherited Cardiovascular Conditions and Sports Cardiology at St George’s Hospital, London. Families can be seen at these fast-track clinics within a few weeks of referral after the sudden death of a family member.
- Publish at least 2 peer reviewed articles in leading journals and present their research at international conferences.
- Support the screening of 2000 people. CRY Research Fellows carry out consultations with every person CRY tests, and manage any abnormal screening results.