In 1992 an intrepid group of Tadcaster Scouts, Leaders, young people, families and friends completed a sponsored relay walk from Bowness on Windermere to Tadcaster to raise funds for the scout group in order to build their current scout hut and for Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research. This was in memory of Andrew Oliver, a young man, who had been through scouting in Tadcaster and who had become an Assistant Scout Leader with the Group. He sadly passed away from leukaemia in 1985 at the age of 20.
Earlier this year, there was a chance meeting between the current Group Scout Leader, John Swift, and Andrew’s brother Stuart Natkus. Stuart, who took part in the original walk as a 10-year-old scout, over a beer or two, recounted the original walk and suggested a re-run. The seeds were sown!!! The walk this time however would be entirely in aid of Bloodwise (formerly Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research.)
With the support of the Leaders from all those years ago and many Scouts who walked at that time, the walk was recreated and took place over the weekend of 29 June / 1 July 2018.
The first group of Scouts and leaders, including Robyn Derry and Matt Cattle, who walked the same leg as young scouts in1992, set off from Bowness at 7.30 pm on 29 June, carrying bottles of water taken from the lake. They finished their 10-mile section at Burnside at 11.30 pm and handed over the bottles of water to the next group of walkers, Tadcaster Explorers, who then set off on a 20-mile overnight section. At the end of each section a catering van was waiting to provide the walkers with burgers, bacon sandwiches , cake and fruit, as well as drinks.
At 12.30 on Saturday lunch time a group of Cubs, families and friends set off from Beckermonds to walk the ten miles to Kettlewell in blazing red-hot sun. In this group were the youngest and oldest walkers, Grace Pratt (6) and Sue Natkus respectively. Grace covered the last two miles singing and dancing her way to the line whilst Sue was suffering badly from cramp. There was no way either of them were going to give in, despite a support vehicle arriving every couple of miles to collect anyone who wanted to drop out, which no one did. The last of this group arrived in Kettlewell at 4.30, handed over the bottles of water, and the next group set off
The Tadcaster Cubs again joined the walk, this time at Wetherby on Sunday morning with the Beavers, parents, family and friends joining the walk from Newton Kyme to the river in Tadcaster. “The 112-mile walk was a fantastic achievement by Tadcaster Scouts,” commented John Swift, Tadcaster Scouts’ Group Scout Leader. “From my point of view, it was great to see so many people, approximately 125 of them, of all ages, getting involved. In true Scouting spirit, some of them were really “doing their best” and pushing themselves to the limit. One Explorer, who is also a Young Leader, walked over one-third of the total distance. Every participant should be proud of themselves, whatever their role in the event. Definitely a memorable experience for me and hopefully for all concerned!!”
All the walkers met at the river at 3 pm together with parents and friends. The water carried from Bowness was ceremoniously poured into the river at Tadcaster. Sue Sheriff from St Mary’s Church, Tadcaster conducted a memorial service for Andrew Oliver whose death from leukaemia age 20 inspired the original walk and for Andrew Baxter and Richard Cole who both took part in the 1992 walk as young scouts, but who have since both sadly passed away.
The walkers, waving flags and balloons, were led back to the scout hut by a piper where all enjoyed a barbeque and drinks.
The walk over the weekend was a hugh success and enjoyed by all. The aim at the outset was to raise £5000.00 solely for Bloodwise. The final figure was revealed at Tadcaster Scout Groups annual camp and AGM on 7th October, where the cheque was handed over to a Bloodwise representative; the phenomenal figure of £9000 was raised.