TEN WORKMATES have taken it upon themselves to undertake a non-stop, 80-mile walk the length of Shetland, from Unst to Sumburgh, for charity.
The workers, employed by Bilfinger Industrial Services at Sullom Voe, are raising funding for three charities helping six year old Charlie Newlands, from Sandwick, who is currently receiving treatment for leukaemia.
The beneficiaries of Charlie’s Big Walk will be three children’s charities, CLIC Sargent, Chloe’s Chemoo Cows and Ronald McDonald House in Glasgow.
One of those involved, John-William Halcrow, explained the “bright idea” came from co-worker Gary Smith, whose son Jackson attends school with Charlie in Sandwick.
“He was sitting in work and said he wanted to do something to help raise money for Charlie,” Halcrow says. “He came up with this idea to do this 80 mile walk, and I thought it’d be a good idea as well.
“Gary spoke to the family before any of it happened. I think they’re quite chuffed we’re doing this – it’s just to try and help them out a bit.”
The first 12 mile stretch from Skaw at the north tip of Unst will begin at 7am on Friday 5 September, followed by 18 miles from Gutcher to Ulsta in Yell, then just over 50 miles on the mainland.
“We’ll have refreshment stops and stretches,” Halcrow explains, “but no night-time stops, so it’ll be non stop. We’re hoping to get down to Sumburgh Hotel between dinnertime and teatime the next day.
“We didn’t think it was crazy at the time – thought it would just be a walk. We’ve realised it maybe is a bigger challenge than we thought. I told my family and they just looked at me and said ‘what are you doing?’. After doing a few [shorter] practice walks, yeah… it’s going to be a challenge!”
Several thousand pounds have been raised through sponsorship forms already.
“We’re just trying to raise as much as we can,” Halcrow says. “We’re going around with the sponsor forms at work and all over the place, and we seem to be raising a grain.”
Once the gruelling walk is complete, plans are afoot for a gathering at the Sandwick Social Club on the evening of Saturday 6 September – though, understandably, Halcrow is unsure how much energy the 10 walkers will have left.
“I’d like to think we’ll have a party. I imagine we’ll not really be fit for anything, to be honest, but if there’s anything left in me I’ll be having a pint!”
He adds: “We’d like to say thank you to everybody that’s donated, and keep it coming in.”
· You can donate through sponsor forms circulating locally, or online at the following three Just Giving pages: