SAFC legend Niall Quinn and 20 keen walkers raised more than £5,000 for the Beacon of Light by walking part of Hadrian’s Wall.
Michael Scott, 25, from Crook in Weardale said he was sitting in a coffee shop when he saw some information about the walk on Twitter – and thought if he could raise money for a fantastic cause he’d sign up there and then.
He said: “Truth to be told I’m not an avid walker and didn’t have time to train, but I do regularly walk my dog 3-5 miles. I’m a big Sunderland fan so just signed up on the spur of the moment.
“It wasn’t easy and I did get a few blisters because of my boots, but it was definitely more of a mental challenge for me due to the terrain. Fortunately, I got chatting to different people along the way so had a good laugh and really enjoyed it. It was a snap decision to sign up but I’d definitely recommend it and do it again in a heartbeat for such a good cause.”
The Hadrian’s Walk Challenge was led by experienced guides and covered a 17.5-mile route from Walltown Quarry to the George at Chollerford earlier this month.
The walkers enjoyed stunning views of Crag Lough, Housesteads Roman Fort, Brocolitia Roman Temple and probably the most famous tree in the country at Sycamore Gap before finishing with a glass of bubbly to celebrate at The George Hotel.
Not unsurprisingly, Foundation of Light Ambassador Niall Quinn was feeling competitive on the day and crossed the finish line first walking with his daughter Aisling.
It was great to be back in the region with Aisling to help the Foundation. The walk was a real challenge in places but the breath-taking scenery and great company made it all worthwhile.
Paul Feechan and his daughter Emma, 18, also completed the walk. Paul commented: “Hadrian’s Wall is on our doorstep and I’ve wanted to walk it for years, so when the opportunity came up my daughter Emma and I jumped at the chance, as we often walk together in the Lakes.
“The first stretch of the walk in Northumberland is spectacular and as we were talking to new people all day, we weren’t really thinking about the walk or the terrain. I walked alongside Niall chatting for about an hour but his stride must be twice that of mine so I felt like I’d run part of it!
“The Foundation of Light and the Beacon are hidden gems in the region. A lot of people have no idea what the Foundation really does or just how many people it helps every year. We were really happy to get involved and raised about £550 between us.”
Niall Quinn added: “It was great to be in the region helping raise funds for the Beacon of Light.
“The Foundation has done an amazing job raising £16m of the £18m target – but we still need help to finish the job – so I’d really like to urge as many people as possible to ‘Back the Beacon’.”
“The North East is not without its challenges and the Beacon will tackle real challenges from growing childhood obesity, improving the education attainment and employability skills of young people to helping more families become more active and develop a healthier lifestyle.”
28 September 2017