Over the last two years, many CRY events have gone virtual due to the pandemic. This has included the CRY Heart of London Bridges Walk, with supporters completing walks in their local communities around the country rather than all gathering together as normal.
On 26 June 2022, we were so pleased to be able to return to London for the 16th anniversary of this special event.
For the first time in 2019, we moved the Heart of London Bridges Walk to a new starting venue at Southwark Park and returned again this year. Walkers began arriving in the park from 9am and gathered around the band stand, connected with other participants, and uploaded their messages and photos to our message wall screen. A total of 709 walkers came to take part.
Once walkers had arrived, CRY Patron Phil Packer MBE began our speeches.
“I just wanted to share a little bit of why it’s such an impact for me to be a Patron when my life hasn’t been affected by cardiac risk in the young,” Phil said to open his speech. “In 2009, I did the London Marathon, after I sustained spinal cord injuries, over 14 days, and after that I was asked to be a Patron of CRY. CRY has shaped me so much in what I do now in the charity sector, because in 2010, when I did the London Marathon again, I did it in 26 hours. And for one of those miles I was joined by young ambassadors and families and friends of CRY to raise awareness. It was through that experience that I really started to understand what I wanted to do going forward, with a new life with a disability. It’s an absolute honour to be a Patron of CRY.”
“Thank you very much indeed for inviting me today,” Phil said as he began to end his speech. “It really is a joy to be here and I know how special a day it is and I can really feel that, and I have done on the times that I’ve been here before. So thank you very much and have a fantastic walk today.”
Next, CRY Chief Executive Dr Steve Cox gave our final speech of the morning. He began by thanking everyone who helped make the day possible, from volunteers and participants to food vendors, before highlighting the importance of the event, CRY’s screening programme and research.
“I know many of you are joining us once again as you have done for many years and that’s absolutely fantastic,” Dr Cox said. “But I’d like to also say how sorry I am for those of you who are attending for the first time, because no one would ever want to have to be in a position of reaching out to a charity like CRY. But also thank you for coming and joining us today, because I hope today will be the first day in your life since the tragedy that your family experienced where you will be with so many other families who will know what you feel.”
“Young sudden cardiac deaths don’t only devastate by taking away life too soon. They also introduce so much uncertainty, and so often it’s impossible to understand and comprehend what has happened,” Dr Cox added. “That’s why we must do everything we can to prevent sudden deaths from heart conditions. We are always humbled to see the incredible lengths you all go to, to raise awareness and fundraise in your local communities. The way in which communities come together is truly amazing, and it’s been what has taken CRY from where we started in 1995 to where we are today.”
You can watch the full speeches below:
After the speeches, we held a minute’s silence.
Then at 11am, it was time for the walk to begin. As always, our 5-mile route went past many of London’s iconic landmarks. This included Tower Bridge, the Tower of London, The Gherkin, St Paul’s Cathedral, Shakespeare’s Globe, and The Shard. We also introduced a new quiz to test our walkers along the route with some London trivia.
After making their way through the heart of London, walkers headed back to Southwark Park for the CRY Family Picnic. Back at the park, there was delicious food and drink on offer from 75 Slices, Bratwurst Bros, Chocolate Balloons, and Smokin’ Bean Coffee Truck. As everyone spent time with other walkers, there was also a performance from the Nunhead Community Choir to enjoy.
Meanwhile, many CRY supporters who wanted to take part in their own local areas or could not make it to London completed their own walking routes around the country. 117 people completed the My Walk for CRY, which is a great way to be involved on the day and raise awareness locally.
The CRY Heart of London Bridges Walk is always an emotional day. It was so special for everyone to gather together, especially after not being able to make it to London for two years due to the pandemic. Thank you to all of our supporters who took part, whether you completed your My Walk For CRY or came to the main event.
Thank you to our fantastic team of volunteers as well. Events like this are only possible because of your help!
CRY’s volunteers were: Krisztina Cserhalmi, Jenny Boag, Rochelle Burrows, Julie and Michael Essex, Caroline and Peter Gard, Rachel Groom, Wendy and Phil Harrington, Sam Helm, Jo and Nick Hudson, Jim and Barbara Holland, Kelvin Holt, Victoria Joy, Jasmine Lambert, Cyril Molony, Tim Munyanyi, Bill and Rosie Taylor, Dai Taylor, Vicky and Aaron Walker, Paul Ward, Toby Ward, Lucy Wasdell-Bowyer, Matt Wilson, India Woodward, Rebecca Zouvani, Ciara Lucas, Lizzie Peers, Ruth Moore and Larissa from Lari Yoga who led a yoga class at park in the afternoon.
And finally, thank you to our sponsors ServiceMaster Clean, Chubb, and Saputo Dairy UK.
You can see more photos from the day in our Flickr album below: