Heysham woman raises £1k for charity through mammoth walking challenge

A Heysham woman has completed a virtual walk of almost 900 miles for two charities close to her heart.

Tuesday, 16th November 2021, 9:37 am
Lorraine and Marley during their walk.

Lorraine McCullough undertook the 874-mile Lejog10 virtual walk from Lands End to John o'Groats.

Money raised by Lorraine's task will go towards The Birchall Trust, a free counselling service helping the survivors of sexual abuse and rape, funded by donations and grants, and St John's Hospice in Lancaster.

And she has smashed her target and so far raised more than £1,000.

Lorraine with some of the team from the Birchall Trust, who walked the last three miles with her.

As we reported in April, Lorraine said she wanted to help the trust after they supported her with counselling.

She initially launched her challenge in January alongside her faithful cocker spaniel Marley.

She said: "Whilst receiving counselling, many a time my head would be in a mess, I would come home, put Marley's lead on and walk to level my head.

"So who better to walk for than The Birchall Trust.

Lorraine shows off her medal for completing the walk.

"Walking every mile for them is part of my way of saying thank you to them all, and especially to my counsellor."

Lorraine and Marley spent much of their time walking along the coast of Morecambe and Heysham to add to their miles since beginning on January 8.

In total Lorraine will have walked 1,748 miles - with the 'return journey' being for St John’s Hospice as well as The Birchall Trust after Lorraine lost a close friend to cancer.

She also continued the walk in memory of Marley, who sadly was put to sleep after falling ill in July.

Lorraine said: "In March this year I lost my dear friend Carol to cancer and as we approached the end of the first walk I thought it would be a good idea for us to do the return walk for St John's Hospice Lancaster.

"Marley and I set off for the virtual walk of John o‘Groats to Lands End (jogle) on June 3 and all was going well until Marley became unwell in July and had to be put to sleep.

"For days I walked around in a fog and then I decided to carry on in memory of Carol and Marley. They had both kept me going through lockdown every day.

"As of October 17 I have 40 miles left to complete the walk. To think that when I started the first virtual walk in January I thought I would struggle to complete 874 in a year but by the time I complete them both I will have walked 1,748 miles all in 10 months with my four legged friends and two legged friends.

"Walking without a dog is strange and I have since got a puppy called Buddy who cannot walk as many miles a day as Marley could but is helping me complete the miles."

The Birchall Trust - originally called South Cumbria Rape and Abuse Service (SCRAS) - was established by Christine Birchall in 1991 as a community response to the lack of support for rape and sexual abuse victims in the local area.

It originally operated as an entirely volunteer-based organisation supported by community fundraising, but has successfully developed into an established service provider, whilst still retaining its original ethos and local identity.

They now offer support in four locations across south Cumbria and north Lancashire, as well as providing online therapy. The charity is marking its 25th anniversary this year and has recently set up a hub in Morecambe.

The charity covers issues including childhood abuse, child sexual exploitation, trafficking, sex workers and online abuse, and also offers pre-trial therapy to any clients who are going through a criminal investigation.

You can donate online to The Birchall Trust here or to St John's Hospice here.