Jo Brand Urges Locals To Step Up As The Big Walk Comes To Northern Ireland

Feb
9

The Big Walk is back and once again it’s heading to Northern Ireland as four people embark on four routes in each of our four nations.

The organisers are on the hunt for a Northern Ireland resident up for the challenge of a lifetime, walking more than 250 miles over 21 days across the UK from Morecambe in Lancashire back home.

The intrepid wanderer will be visiting and celebrating community projects along the way, helping to shine a light on the extraordinary things that ordinary people are doing in their own neighbourhoods.

Comedian and presenter Jo Brand, no stranger to a walking challenge herself, presided over the starting ceremony last year. She says:
"I was delighted to be invited to launch The Big Walk. The atmosphere was amazing. Despite the weather gods raining down on us, we were live on The One Show and the walkers couldn't wait to kick off.  Last year there were so many negative things going on in the world, it was nice for three weeks to be able to shine a light on the incredibly determined walkers and the diverse communities all over the UK coming together to welcome them passing through. I urge anyone from Northern Ireland to consider stepping up for the challenge this year...if nothing else it's the perfect excuse to eat cake all day as you potter along!" 

The Big Walk, an idea from the Eden Project delivered together with the National Lottery, kicks off in mid-May. Four walkers will head from the geographical heart of the UK -Morecambe - to their respective homes in each of the four UK nations, with one of them ending in Northern Ireland. Finishing simultaneously on Sunday 3 June, the walkers will all make it back in time to join The Big Lunch, the biggest community led celebration in the UK.

Peter Stewart, Eden Project Executive Director, says:
“We were overwhelmed by the response to the first ever Big Walk. All along the routes, people and communities came out to welcome the walkers and talk about projects in their own neighbourhoods. At a time when we need reminding of the strength and positivity society is capable of, we were able to show that community spirit is very much alive and flourishing all over the UK.”

Olivia Cosgrove was one of the walkers who took part last year, walking from Leeds to Belfast. She says:
“I had never done anything like the Great Big Walk before and the whole experience of connecting with people, celebrating what they are doing in their communities, really blew me away. People were genuinely glad to see us and talk about what their projects were up to. A lot of people I met are dealing with hard issues in their community every day - loneliness, mental health, poverty, prejudice. But every single community stop was invigorating and I came away energised.  We often took the picturesque routes rather than the fastest route so I was incredibly privileged to see parts of the country I never would have otherwise seen, all thanks to The Big Walk.”

The end of The Big Walk last year culminated in The Big Lunch, with 9.3 million people taking part in over 96,000 events.  That’s over 14% of the population. "As a symbol of humanity, positivity and community, The Big Lunch shines. No matter where you live in the UK,” concludes Peter. “You need only take a look at these events to see that community spirit is everywhere and it’s so easy to join in and be part of it all.”

If you live in Northern Ireland and are interested in taking part in The Big Walk, you need to be over 18, physically fit enough to walk up to 20 miles a day for 21 days and show genuine interest in community projects. For more information and to register your interest, go to: www.thebig-walk.com

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