'The Canny Shank' - friends walk 200-miles around perimeter of Northumberland to support mental health charity

Three friends have completed a 200-mile fund-raising walk around the perimeter of Northumberland.

Monday, 15th July 2019, 4:45 pm
Updated Tuesday, 16th July 2019, 6:03 pm
Carl Turner, Sam Parker and Graeme Meek.

Sam Parker, Graeme Meek and Carl Turner took on the challenge to raise awareness and funds for If You Care Share, a small, family-ran charity in Durham that works to both prevent suicide and provide support of those left bereaved.

The North East is the worst affected part of England for male suicide, the leading cause of death among men under 50 in Britain.

Sam, 34, said: “We wanted to raise money for something unique and I knew about the work this charity does here in the North East where, unfortunately, there are a high proportion of suicides and, particularly, male suicides. It’s an issue that has touched all our lives.”

Carl Turner, Sam Parker and Graeme Meek.

They have raised £2,500 so far from their efforts over the past fortnight, which they called ‘The Canny Shank’.

“We started from the south side of Alnmouth beach with the aim of roughly following the county’s boundaries,” said Sam. “We initially walked south to Cresswell, on to Ashington, across to Heddon-on-the-Wall and then along Hadrian’s Wall to its border with Cumbria.

“We then turned north to Stonehaugh and Bellingham, then across to Kielder, Byrness and then into the Cheviots as far as Kirk Yetholm, which is just on the Scottish side of the border. We then walked to Coldstream and on to Berwick before the final leg back down the coast to finish on the north side of the Alnmouth estuary on Friday.”

The trio have been friends since their days as pupils at Duchess’s Community High School in Alnwick.

“None of us are experienced walkers but it’s been a lot of fun,” said Sam. “It’s been hard work too and there are a few blisters.

“There’s been the odd incident along the way too. Our tent was attacked by badgers one night!

“Everyone we’ve met along the way has been really friendly, helpful and interested in what we are doing and why. That’s made it all far more bearable.”