Fundraisers’ £100,000 target will ensure Nick’s memory still burns bright ten years on
It is ten years since 16-year-old Wickersley Comprehensive pupil Nick Walker died after an accident outside school.
But his memory lives on – thanks to family and friends who turned their loss into helping other children.
In the midst of their grief, Nick’s 19-year-old brother Tom and their father Mal had decided to run a Lake District half-marathon in his memory – and when 20 friends and relatives joined in, they managed to raise almost £5,000 for The Children’s Hospital Charity in Sheffield.
That was in 2009, just a year after Nick’s death. It spurred The Nick Walker Memorial Trust to do more good in his name and a staggering £67,000 has now been raised for the charity which supports Sheffield Children’s Hospital.
Since then, there have been football and cricket tournaments, a Land’s End to John O’Groats team cycle ride, a Coast to Coast run, numerous marathons plus entertainment nights and charity balls.
And as the 10th anniversary of Nick’s death on Sunday March 11 approaches, his family and friends are planning what will perhaps be their most arduous feat – a non-stop 180-mile cycle trek.
Tom, plus seven friends, will ride from from London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital to Sheffield Children’s Hospital in just one day – March 11.
“It’s going to be a very poignant day for us. We constantly think about Nick and wonder what he would be doing with his life at 26.” We’ve travelled the length and breadth of the country and put ourselves through a lot of pain in my brother’s memory.
Our motivation has always been about keeping Nick’s memory alive but the fact that we are helping other children in the process is a great feeling and we are so grateful to everyone who helped us raise such a huge sum. On March 11 we will be going that extra mile for him.”
Tom, along with Adam Moore, Luke Barnett, Michael Grant, Gaz Habbin, Collette Bartholomew, Gavin Levitt and Craig Barker, will set off at 2am and hope to arrive at the Children’s Hospital for 6pm. Money raised will this time be split between GOSH and TCHC.
Said Tom, now 29: “Most of us are not regular cyclists and some 18 hours of cycling will be gruelling. But spurring us on will be the hope of breaking through the £75,000 mark and maybe even hitting £100,000. That would be such an achievement.” The team will have the backup of a minibus, loaned from Wickersley School and driven by one of its science teachers Josh Turner, a close school friend of Nick’s.
The Nick Walker Memorial Trust, which has another schooldays friend Scott Bailey as one of the main organisers, chose The Children’s Hospital Charity after discovering it was appealing for a scanner.
“My brother and I were never treated there, but we wanted to support a hospital which fights for children’s lives every single day,” said Tom, who was a 19-year-old at university when his brother died. He is now a sports teacher employed by Live and Learn in Rotherham schools.
Cheryl Davidson, community fundraising manager at The Children’s Hospital Charity, said: “These guys have done so much to raise a truly amazing total that will help us transform The Children’s Hospital for the hundreds of thousands of patients who come from all over the world for specialist care.
Initially they raised over £13,000 for the Kids Scanner appeal, then they supported our Make it Better appeal and have funded a £25,000 patient bedroom. Thank you so much to them for their continued support.”
Fundraising events will also be happening before the cycle on February 24 – a sponsored six-hour training pedal on static bikes at Morrisons in Bramley 9am-3am and a charity quiz that night at Wickersley Old Village Cricket Club, which is open to all.