Best foot forward for charity

SUFFOLK: Final preparations are today under way for a picturesque walk which aims to raise tens of thousands of pounds for charity.

Volunteers have been making last-minute touches to the course for tomorrow’s Orwell Walk when thousands of fundraisers will be out in force along the River Orwell.

The challenge – organised by the Rotary Club of Ipswich East and sponsored by The Evening Star and East of England Co-op – will feature three different routes of 12, 18 and 25 miles.

Steve Flory of Hudson Signs, which is supporting the event, is one of the organisers and a member of the Rotary Club. He said: “We’re now clearing parts of the course ready for the day.

“Over the weekend, volunteers have also checked for any water from the river that may disrupt the walkers. We are expecting another great day and to top the amount we raised last year.”

The 25-mile walk has been going since 1977. In the first event, 223 walkers took part – but that figure has now soared to around 2,000.

The walk still follows much of the same route, starting at Amberfield School in Nacton and following the River Orwell to Felixstowe.

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It gives fundraisers the chance to explore parts of the Suffolk Coast usually off limits to the public. Over the course, shown on the map, there will be nine checkpoints manned by volunteers and St John Ambulance crews with refreshments and food.

The new addition to the annual event is the East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH) Waddle for younger walking enthusiasts. It is a fun walk for children to take part in and get sponsored to complete.

For each activity undertaken, they will receive a stamp on their ‘Waddle’ card to show their sponsors that they have completed them.

Mr Flory said: “We’re expecting between 1,500 and 2,000 people and it’s great because people can choose how many miles they want to do – anything from three miles to 25 miles.”

Last year, the event raised �43,000 and over its lifetime it has raised more than �1million for many charities, including St Elizabeth Hospice, Papworth Hospital, the RSPCA and the NSPCC.

n Are you going to take part in the Orwell Walk? Tell us your stories. Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or send an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk