Early on Sunday Morning 23rd June, over 20 East Ribble Brethren, partners and friends gathered at Royal Blackburn Hospital to receive their instructions for marshalling the first NHS Big walk for the Hospital’s charity ELHT&ME. This event saw 100 walkers from each of the Districts in the Northern Area start from the Royal Blackburn and Burnley Hospitals and each walk 12 miles along the Leeds Liverpool canal. Both converged in Altham before walking the last two miles together to the finish where our District Chairman WBro Dave McGurty was manning the Provincial trailer and coordinating for both the East Ribble & Burnley & Pendle Marshall’s.
The walks started promptly at 9.30am and the East RibbleDistrict half were seen on their way by the Blackburn With Darwen Borough Council Mayor, Councillor Jim Shorrock and Consort of Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council, Mr Mark Joyce.
As a proportion of the walk was road based between the canal towpaths, it was great to get the assistance of WBro Scott Miller utilising his NW blood bike. His presence slowed down the traffic at strategic junctions and it proved that drivers react to a blue light on a bike, even if it never got turned on! In true East Ribble District style it didn’t take long for the marshalls to find sustenance, and WBro David Gill was seen carrying a huge pile of pies from an early opening shop. (We’re not sure if he shared them or not!)
The walkers spread out over the 12 miles and the final group came in accompanied by the back marker WBro Allan Low around five hours after the start. To be fair there may have been a few stragglers after this as the Walton Arms in Altham seemed to draw some of the walkers in for a ‘swift half’. We are not sure if they came back out or not!
Denise Gee, the event organiser was delighted with the turnout of both walkers and marshalls in what she hopes will turn out to be an annual event, she continued to say that she was expecting the day would raise around £10,000 for a great cause.
Whilst the charity work continues outside the Masonic season, this was the final formal volunteering event and thanks must go to all those Brethren, partners and friends who have helped on the many opportunities that have cropped up during 2018/19.

Article and Images: East Ribble District Team