Walkers are set to take Whitlingham challenge

BUILD Charity’s Janet Brandish (volunteer) and James Kearns (chief executive) preparing for their Wh

BUILD Charity’s Janet Brandish (volunteer) and James Kearns (chief executive) preparing for their Whitlingham Walkathon Challenge. - Credit: Submitted

People with sensory, physical, or learning disabilities associated with Norfolk charity BUILD, will show they can help themselves when they take on the challenge of walking the two-and-a-quarter mile route around Whitlingham Broad.

The Whitlingham Walkathon was the idea of chief executive James Kearns, a past distance walker, now restricted through worn knees and ankles, and awaiting repair surgery, but still taking on the challenge of completing as many laps as he can during the day.

He will be joined at various stages by people with a variety of disabilities and friends and supporters of the BUILD Charity, all proving the point that their focus is on achieving through ability, not withdrawing through disability.

The High Sheriff of Norfolk, Lady Philippa Dannatt MBE, and her husband Lord Dannatt, are also expected to be putting in a lap to show their support.

Anyone else can join in and the charity is inviting people to take part.

Two years ago Mr Kearns walked a marathon 26-mile distance to raise over £1,500 for the charity. BUILD members took on a two-mile route, but said that they wanted the chance to walk further, so the Walkathon concept was developed.

He said: 'This is a chance to prove that two myths are incorrect.

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'One is that disability prevents people from getting out and about. The other is that charities are not willing to help themselves.'

The event takes place at the Whitlingham Country Park on Saturday, May 31, between 9.30am and 4.30pm and over 30 members of the charity's staff, volunteers and beneficiaries have already registered to take part. Among them is former trustee and current volunteer Janet Brandish, a wheelchair user, who took part in the previous challenge and was keen to show her support once more. Anyone wanting to take part in the event can turn up at any time between the start and finish times and register at a tent close to the Whitlingham Café and Information Centre, but there are two planned group walks at 10am and 2pm for those preferring to join a group.

The registration tent will act as a start and finish point for these walks.

Anyone can register to take part and pay a £5 registration fee, and then get friends and supporters to sponsor them for as many laps as they can manage.

Full details of the walk are at www.buildcharity.co.uk/news where supporters make a donation. For details call 01603 618029.