Letchworth Walks to D’Feet MND around Greenway raise more than £8,000 for Motor Neurone Disease Association

The Walk to D'feet MND group at the end of March's walk, outside The Fox at Willian. Photo: Courtesy

The Walk to D'feet MND group at the end of March's walk, outside The Fox at Willian. Photo: Courtesy of Claire Pedrick - Credit: Archant

Dozens of people are walking the Letchworth Greenway every month for a year in support of those living with motor neurone disease – and their next trek is this Saturday.

Claire Pedrick and Margaret Grey have set out to Walk to D'feet MND. Photo: Courtesy of Claire Pedri

Claire Pedrick and Margaret Grey have set out to Walk to D'feet MND. Photo: Courtesy of Claire Pedrick - Credit: Archant

Letchworth Walks to D’Feet MND, headed by Claire Pedrick, has already raised more than £8,000 for the Motor Neurone Disease Association after just two of the 12 planned 13.6-mile walks.

Claire was inspired to take action after family friend John and neighbour Pete were diagnosed with MND – and after leading 10 people on the first walk, she has almost 60 people signed up for this Saturday, including John’s wife Margaret Gray.

Skills coach Claire said: “Many people don’t know what to do when someone is faced with such a devastating diagnosis. We have had stuff happen in our family and I know many people don’t know what to do, and I wanted to stand with my friends.

“It needed to be local, free and easy – and make enough noise that people will want to come too. It is overwhelming how many people want to walk with us. We are here for the long haul.

“I just told my husband – we can be friendly or we can do something.”

Claire, 54, told the Comet she was astonished at how the movement had grown since she first had the idea to walk the Greenway in January.

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She said: “It’s absolutely extraordinary. I set a target of £12,000 – thinking if I brought another nine people on each walk, we might raise £1,000 each time – but we’re going to smash that.

“We only came up with the idea about two weeks before the first walk in February. At first I was just going to walk the Greenway, then we had coffee one day and that turned into 12 times – and then it turned into inviting everyone to come along as well.

“We just talked to everybody we know. It’s much to easier to get people to walk than to get people to give money!

“What I hadn’t realised at all was that so many people would want to come and that the people would want to come back. So, rule one of starting a movement – don’t know you’re starting a movement!”

She added: “We start each time from The Fox at Willian. They’ve been brilliant, really helpful – they’ve let us put a collection box on the bar and they don’t mind us starting in their car park.

“It’s a real hodge-podge of people – we have participants from every decade, including some in their 60s and a five-month-old baby. It’s an amazing way to spend a Saturday.”

Denise Davies from the MND Association said: “Without the amazing support of people like Claire and all those involved in the Letchworth Walks to D’Feet, the MND Association simply would not be able to provide its vital support services, fund research to find a cure and campaign and raise awareness of MND. Together we are making a real difference for people affected by this devastating disease.”

This Saturday’s walk starts from The Fox at Willian at 8.45am.

Further walks are planned for May 13, June 3, July 8, August 5, September 9, October 7, November 11, December 2, and finally January 6 next year.

St Paul’s Church in Letchworth is set to host the walkers for a cake sale on May 6, from 10.30am to 12 noon.

To find out more see justgiving.com/Claire-Pedrick and facebook.com/groups/215579242238566, or email Claire at claire.pedrick@gmail.com.