Charity campaign funds free hiking boots for 1000 kids

A boot level view of High Cup Nick during one of The Big Smile walks
A boot level view of High Cup Nick during one of The Big Smile walks (Image credit: The Walk and Talk Trust)

A charity is donating more than 1000 pairs of hiking boots to children following the success of its first fundraising campaign. 

The Big Smile has formed a series of 50 charity walks, organised by the Walk and Talk Trust and backed high profile individuals and organisations, including Sir Chris Bonington, Alan Hinkes and the It’s Great Out There Coalition. A newspaper in the north-east of England,  The Northern Echo, also gave support. 

The Walk and Talk Trust was the vision of a UK-based businessman, Peter Bell, who wanted to share his passion for walking and to promote the benefits of regular outdoor activity to body, mind, and soul.

Since its launch on June 21, The Big Smile has taken walkers on routes across the north-east of England, such as 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 supporters take in the views of High Cup Nick in the North Pennines.JP

Walk and Talk Trust supporters take in the views of High Cup Nick in the North Pennines (Image credit: The Walk and Talk Trust)

After 10 weeks, the fundraising initiative will end with a final walk, starting and finishing in the historic city of Durham on Friday August 27, by which time the walk leaders, Keiron Young and Richard Ellis, will have hiked a total of total 1000km.

Walk and Talk Trust chief executive Geoff Simpson said: “We’re thrilled to be able to provide in excess of 1000 pairs of walking boots to Year 6 schoolchildren throughout the north east of England 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.”

Peter added: “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.”

Fiona Russell
Outdoor writer

Fiona Russell is a widely published adventure journalist and blogger, better known as Fiona Outdoors. She is based in Scotland and is an all-round outdoors enthusiast with favorite activities including trail running, mountain walking, mountain biking, road cycling, triathlon and skiing (both downhill and backcountry). Aside from her own adventures, Fiona's biggest aim is to inspire others to enjoy getting outside and exploring, especially through her writing. She is also rarely seen without a running skort! Find out more at Fiona Outdoors.