The Big Smile walkers enjoy a boot-level view of High Cup Nick in the North Pennines

The Big Smile walkers enjoy a boot-level view of High Cup Nick in the North Pennines

Schoolchildren in north-east England will be able to boot up thanks to a campaign involving 50 charity walks.

The Walk and Talk Trust will donate more than 1,000 pairs of walking boots to children in year six across the region.

People taking part in The Big Smile have raised cash for the trust in a series of 50 charity walks. The final walk, starting and finishing in Durham, will take place on Friday, by which time the walk leaders Keiron Young and Richard Ellis will have hiked a total of 1,000km.

Since its launch at Raby Castle, near Staindrop, County Durham, on 21 June, The Big Smile has taken walkers on routes in Northumberland, County Durham, Tyne and Wear, North Yorkshire, Tees Valley, and Cumbria, with participants raising money for the charity along the way.

Walk and Talk Trust chief executive Geoff Simpson said: “We’re thrilled to be able to provide in excess of 1,000 pairs of walking boots to year six schoolchildren throughout the North-East to help them discover the joys of walking.

“We’re very proud of our team of walk leaders, and incredibly grateful to all of our supporters and sponsors who have helped make the first Big Smile such a resounding a success.”

Durham businessman Peter Bell founded the Walk and Talk Trust to share his passion for walking and promote the benefits of regular outdoor activity to body, mind, and soul.

He said: “This result represents an incredible achievement in the charity’s first year, particularly against the background of the pandemic and all the uncertainties it has presented.

“We’re delighted that this is going to make such a difference to so many young people and, hopefully, inspire in them a love of walking and the outdoors to last a lifetime.”

The project had the backing of The Northern Echo newspaper and high-profile individuals and organisations, including Sir Chris Bonington, Alan Hinkes and the It’s Great Out There Coalition.

More details are on The Big Smile website.

Some articles the site thinks might be related:

  1. Pedal-power walkers raise cash with Three Peaks Challenge
  2. Alpkit sets up charity to help people get into the outdoors
  3. Holiday firm’s cash for Highland paths
  4. Ellis Brigham stores will host charity adventure talks
  5. Member of public rescues collapsed Ingleborough charity walker