Charities line-up for launch of epic Norwich to Paris challenge

The Dean of Norwich, the Very Rev Jane Hedges, takes a service for the teams taking part in the virt

The Dean of Norwich, the Very Rev Jane Hedges, takes a service for the teams taking part in the virtual Walking4Norfolk at Norwich Cathedral. - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

Representatives of 23 charities descended on Norwich Cathedral for the launch of a 375 mile fundraising walking challenge. 

The first day of Walking4Norfolk took place on Wednesday with the High Sherriff of Norfolk Michael Gurney reading a poem to kickstart the proceedings. 

Hymns were also sung ahead of the teams walking the equivalent distance from Norwich to Notre-Dame in Paris within their local area. 

The launch for the teams taking part in the virtual Walking4Norfolk at Norwich Cathedral. From left

From left front row, Dean of Norwich, the Very Rev Jane Hedges; High Sheriff, Michael Gurney, with his chaplain, Rev Matthew Hutton; chief constable Simon Bailey; and founder, James Bagge. - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

Walking4Norfolk founder James Bagge said: "A variety of distances were covered on the first day with the Garage Trust team covering 68 miles while others have just done one or two. The field is spread.

"Having spoken to everybody yesterday, they are so pleased to find a platform to raise money and to raise their profile. The Purfleet Trust homeless charity in King's Lynn has a number of clients walking." 

The High Sheriff, Michael Gurney, speaks at the launch of the virtual Walking4Norfolk. Picture: DEN

The High Sheriff, Michael Gurney, speaks at the launch of the virtual Walking4Norfolk. - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

Each participant will be walking roughly five miles a day for two weeks to reach the total of 375 required.

Mr Bagge's team, known as the Stradsett Strollers, will even be taking it in turns to carry a log "to assist with the rebuilding of Notre Dame after the fire!". 

The Stradsett Strollers carrying their log which Mr Bagge joked will be used to help repair Notre Dame Cathedral 

The Stradsett Strollers carrying their log which Mr Bagge joked will be used to help repair Notre Dame Cathedral - Credit: Submitted


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Among the charities being represented is the Matthew Project with one team called TMP Trekkers lined up for the challenge. 

Members of some of the teams taking part in the virtual Walking4Norfolk at Norwich Cathedral. Pictur

Members of some of the teams taking part in the virtual Walking4Norfolk at Norwich Cathedral. - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

Sarah King, fundraising and events officer for the charity, said: "It was nice because it was the first time people had met face-to-face for such a long time. It was really good speaking to other charities.

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"The money raised will go into the Unity Service project support team. We have really had to increase the work we do with young people. 

The Dean of Norwich, the Very Rev Jane Hedges, takes a service for the teams taking part in the virt

The Dean of Norwich, the Very Rev Jane Hedges, takes a service for the teams taking part in the virtual Walking4Norfolk at Norwich Cathedral. Also taking part are, from left, front row, founder, James Bagge; chief constable Simon Bailey; High Sheriff, Michael Gurney, with his chaplain, Rev Matthew Hutton. - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

"More children are experiencing mental health issues and substance misuse. There is plenty of preventative work going out to schools." 

Another charity taking part is the Swan Youth Project in Downham Market with two teams representing this cause.

Project manager Anna Foster said: "Covid has definitely impacted some in a much more negative way, and we are very aware of the need to keep lines of communication open for all of our families."

Walking4Norfolk was founded by Mr Bagge in 2018. 

The fundraising page for the Matthew Project team can be found at www.matthewproject.org/walking4norfolk.

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