CRY Heart of Durham Walk 2018

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It’s hard to believe that we’ve been holding CRY’s Heart of Durham Walk for almost a decade – and we would once again like to thank all the CRY supporters who took part in our 9th annual Walk on Saturday 6th October. It really was a special event!

A crisp Autumn day, the sun shone on us from late morning onwards (as the rest of the country sheltered from the rain!) and we received so much support and interest from local shoppers and passers-by, really helping us to fulfil our mission of raising awareness of CRY and young sudden cardiac death.

Around 240 people took part (along with their babies, toddlers and dogs in tow!) and as always, it was an emotional sight to see everyone coming together, to walk in memory of a young person. The Walk took in iconic sites such as Durham Cathedral and Castle, the River Wear, Durham Town Hall and Market Place – where CRY had a branded marquee with an awareness stand and the all-important water station.

For the first time, the local Rock Choir, led by Choir leader Rob Slater, kindly gave two rousing performances at the Market Place which attracted many visitors and generous, additional donations. They created a really positive atmosphere and helped us to raise further awareness of everything we do!

As ever, it was a real team effort!

The event was attended by CRY staff Rebecca Zouvani, Ben Robinson, Cara MacMillan, Hiddy Denizer and Lily Burke. And, thanks to the ongoing co-operation of staff at Durham Amateur Rowing Club, we were able to drop off everything on the Friday night, saving valuable time on the Saturday morning (which is always a very early start for staff and volunteers, with a swift set up required at Durham Amateur Rowing Club and Durham Market Place).

Hot drinks and breakfast rolls were laid on at the Rowing Club, for the participants, who started arriving at 9.30am. Throughout the morning, participants checked in at the Registration Desk and chatted amongst themselves, looking at the CRY displays and taking “selfies” using CRY’s new selfie frames.

As we waited for everyone to arrive, CRY staff and our loyal photographer, Doug Moody, took photos for the local press.

Thanks to our supporters, the event once again enjoyed some local press coverage before the event – including an article in the Northern Echo – and a full page the day after! We anticipate further coverage over the coming weeks thanks to the amazing willingness of our families to share and talk about their own personal experience of young sudden cardiac death.

The vast majority of people who took part – some for the first time, others for the second or third time, and some who take part year after year – did so in memory of a young person who they had tragically lost to young sudden cardiac death.

This year we had families from several parts of the UK as well as County Durham and Tyne and Wear, including Scotland, Northumbria, Cleveland, Yorkshire, Merseyside, Lancashire, London, Cambridgeshire, and Derbyshire. They were taking part or volunteering in memory of and in support of Inderjit Bachada; Jack Balfour; Kasia Ber; Christopher George Britton; Andrew James Callender; Cheryl Christopher-Webber; Charlie Craig; Tommy Day; David Elliott; James Green; Dean Henderson; Dale Holder; Damien Jewell; James and Leon Johnsen; Eleanor Keeler; Alan Lumley; Stephanie Charlotte McLean; James Moorfoot; Levon Morland; Vechasit Netlerlrygmit; Andrew Oliver; Sarah Parfery; Kevin Paterson; Jenni and David Paul; Stuart Randall; Alexandra Reid; Jack Riding; Stephen Rogers; Mike Scott; Robert Daniel Smith; Lewis Stewart; Natalie Stewart, Darren Uscroft; and David White.

How it all began…and how it continues to grow

Once everyone had checked in, we assembled outside the Rowing Club. The event’s founder, Jeff Morland welcomed everyone and provided some interesting background to the Walk. He then introduced his good friend Steve Percival, who has played a huge part in helping the event go from strength to strength over the years. He thanked the participants, Durham Amateur Rowing Club and volunteers and conveyed some of CRY’s latest news and developments, highlighting the fact that CRY families have supported the screening of 175,000 young people since 1995, including the recent CRY screening event in memory of Levon Morland, hosted by Durham Amateur Rowing Club.

He also gave out some safety instructions, and a few fascinating facts about the figure 9, this being the 9th year of the Durham Walk! He concluded with a poignant moment by reading out the names of the young people in whose memory people were walking or volunteering before wishing them all a pleasant walk.

The “Walkers” then set off with a bottle of water and donated chocolate bars! They were able to collect more water at the CRY stand in Durham Market Place, manned by CRY staff Ben Robinson and volunteers Shelagh Green and Lindsey Kirton. First aid cover was provided by ResQ Support.

Each “Walker” was later welcomed back to the Rowing Club, once again, by volunteers Marilyn Robinson and Jean Spence who were unable to take part with their families but wanted to help on the day. Walkers were given a CRY medal, a feedback form and a copy of the ‘Don’t CRY’ CD and were encouraged to record their thoughts in the “Today’s Thoughts” book. Durham Amateur Rowing Club once again opened the bar and provided delicious paninis, chilli and chips for CRY staff, volunteers and the walkers on their return.

We would love to see everyone again next year on the Walk’s 10th anniversary year which we are hoping to hold on Saturday 6th October(TBC) so please save the date. If you would like to be advised when a date has been confirmed, please email events@c-r-y.org.uk.

If you would like to upload your own write-up and photos, you can do so by clicking here.

The roll-call of thank yous!

As always, we never forget that most of the walkers who take part in the Durham Walk do so for very personal reasons – and all of us at CRY appreciate their tremendous effort and courage in taking part.

We are also very grateful to the following companies and organisations for their support of this event:

  • Colin Wilkes and Durham Markets Company Ltd for providing CRY with a free awareness stand in The Market Place, Durham.
  • Durham Amateur Rowing Club for providing a great venue at a discount, year after year, and to Mark Bell and his team, Elliot, Graham and John, for making us so welcome and helping out with setting up and packing up.
  • Durham City Rugby Club for allowing us the use of the Club’s car park.
  • Durham Safety Advisory Group and Asset Management Team for approving the route.
  • Radflex for donating chocolate bars. This donation is secured each year by David (Joe) Crow.
  • Rock Choir for giving up their free time to give two fantastic performances at The Market Place.
  • The Rothley Trust for covering the cost of producing the Heart of Durham Walk leaflet.

CRY would also like to thank all the local organisers and volunteers for their help before, during and after the event: helping to organise the event and attending meetings; obtaining necessary permissions; carrying out a risk assessment; marking out the route; promoting the event; pre-event telephone calls and emails; marshalling; assembling walkers’ packs; distributing walk leaflets; registering walkers; inflating balloons; manning a stand, handing out water, chocolate bars, medals and feedback forms; and clearing up.

We really couldn’t run an event like this, so far away from the CRY office, without the help of our dedicated volunteers and helpers ;

Dick Ainsley; Lorraine Atkinson; David (Joe) Crow; Kellie Ellis; Shelagh Green; Jim Henderson; Tony Holder; David Jewell; Lindsey Kirton; Aran Morland; Jeff Morland; Marianne Mortemore; Wendy Moss; Steve Percival; Ted Philo; Marilyn Robinson; Jean Spence; John, Elliot, Graham and Gene from Durham Amateur Rowing Club.

Special thanks, once again, must go to Jeff Morland and Steve Percival, the original instigators of the walk, for helping to organise the event and making it all happen each year.

The final word goes to CRY’s Chief Executive, Dr Steven Cox;

“We’re always so touched by the warm welcome given to us from the people of Durham and the North East and this year was no exception – especially as we welcomed even more families from further afield. There is great support in the area and a real commitment to helping us to spread the word about CRY’s important work in the prevention of young sudden cardiac death. We look forward to keeping this momentum going when our team returns to Durham city centre next year for the 10th anniversary of this important event in CRY’s fundraising and awareness calendar.”

Photos by Doug Moody

These are a selection of photos from the day. All of the photos are available on our Heart of Durham Walk 2018 Flickr gallery.

If you participated in the walk and took photos which you would like to see included, please send them to events@c-r-y.org.uk with the subject “Heart of Durham Walk 2018 photos”.