Eboni Beckford-Chambers, who works in Bath and plays for the Team Bath Netball team, will be there in the morning to wish the walkers good luck. Also helping encourage participants as they set off will be the newly-installed Mayor of Bath, Cllr Patrick Anketell-Jones, and National Samaritans Chair, Jenni McCartney.
The Samaritans Walk is hosted by a different local branch each year, and draws together volunteers, their families, friends, and hundreds of supporters from across the UK. Contributions from those walking, and sponsors, help raise thousands of pounds for the charity.
Over 200 walkers will be following one of two circular routes of either 12.5 miles or 23miles. Both take in some of the most spectacular and quintessentially English countryside there is, in the Somerset Avon valley, along the Kennet & Avon canal, through the villages of Monkton Combe, Wellow and Saltford, and on the famous Bath Skyline, the hills surrounding the UK’s only World Heritage City.
Bath and District Samaritans Director, David Ryder, said the Walk will not only help the Branch raise funds for its work, but also allow those taking part to enjoy the cameraderie of a communal event, and celebrate the Samaritans’ work:
“The 100 volunteers of Bath & District branch take over 40,000 calls a year from people in distress, who feel they have no-one else to talk to. Sometimes what’s troubling them is causing them to have suicidal thoughts.
“An event like the National Walk is a great way to do something to help our work, but also to show support for anyone going through a tough time. We want everyone to know, however dark things may seem, there is always someone to talk to.”
The University of Bath’s Claverton Down campus will be the location for the start and finish of the event, and an evening party will be held in the University’s Lime Tree venue to allow all those walking and their friends and family to celebrate.
Local firms Spaces, Investec, Richardson Swift and Bath RFC have also given sponsorship support to the event.
Online registration for the Walk has now closed, but it is possible to undertake the Walk by registering on the day, before 09.30, at the Registration Desk at the Lime Tree Café, University of Bath. The cost is £30 per walker, with all proceeds going to Bath & District Samaritans