Walk together for a better future on new charity challenge

Published on: Wed, 05/02/2020 - 10:51


A new 75-mile challenge walk, the National Forest Trek, has been launched by a trio of charities. Forged by an alliance of the National Forest Company, National Memorial Arboretum and Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre Benevolent Fund, this fully supported challenge event tells their remarkable story of remembrance, transformation and renewal, while raising invaluable funds to support their charitable work.

The National Forest Trek will take place from 18 to 20 September 2020 with participants embarking on a 3-day, 75-mile adventure along the National Forest Way, stretching from Beacon Hill in Leicestershire to the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire.

Running through the heart of the National Forest, the nation’s first forest-at-scale to be created in England for over 1000 years, the National Forest Way is a varied and accessible route through three counties and a constantly changing landscape. Working since the mid-1990s, to transform – through the planting of trees - this 200 square miles of the Midlands, the National Forest Company is the charity entrusted to ensure that the National Forest continues to thrive.

John Everitt, Chief Executive of the National Forest Company, said: “The National Forest is the result of an ambitious and imaginative regenerative vision that has transformed a blackened landscape scarred by coal mining and heavy industry into swathes of green, home to a fantastic array of wildlife. We are continually investing alongside our partners to ensure the Forest remains a vibrant place of beauty for everyone to enjoy. It’s a fantastic example of how we can all live more sustainably, creating a lasting benefit for generations to come.”

In addition to the £75 entry fee, participants will be expected to raise a minimum of £400 in donations to be split between the three charities. The route will be professionally supported with clear signage and regular refreshment stops. Overnight event villages at Ashby-de-la-Zouch and Rosliston Forestry Centre will offer camping, catering and other services to support participants at the end of each day.

Close to the Trek’s start, the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre at Stanford Hall near Loughborough, helps transform and rehabilitate the lives of the nation’s injured service personnel and those that assist them. The Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre Benevolent Fund purchases specialist goods and services for patients whilst they undertake their rehabilitation programme and ensures they can enjoy social activities over the course of their stay.

Lt Col Tim Clarke, Officer in Command at the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre Benevolent Fund, said: “We step in provide the extra help and support for patients that the public purse does not have the ability to provide. Our goal is to make the often difficult and traumatic road to rehabilitation a little easier and the knowledge that they remain in the thoughts of the Great British public is a hugely positive reminder that their selfless commitment to the Armed Forces is repaid when they are injured.”

The trek will conclude with a celebratory finish at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire. Home to more than 380 beautifully sculpted memorials, including the national Armed Forces Memorial, the Arboretum is the nation’s year-round centre of remembrance. Its 150-acres of gardens and woodlands are free to enter 364 days a year and its 30,000 trees are a living and lasting tribute to everyone who has served, suffered and sacrificed on behalf of our nation.

Philippa Rawlinson, Managing Director of the National Memorial Arboretum, said: “Remembrance is an important human need and the cultural practices that support this need have evolved over the course of millennia. The National Memorial Arboretum is a place where people come to reflect and be inspired as they celebrate lives lived and remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice on behalf of others. We rely on the generosity of supporters to remain a free to enter site where people can come and discover the fascinating personal stories that are the driving force behind our site.”

Registration for three-day challenge is open to everyone over the age of 18 and closes on X. 5km, 1-day and 2-day challenge experiences are also available, with the 1-day open to over 14s and the 5km open to participants of all ages. Details of all trek options can be found at www.nationalforesttrek.co.uk  

Jack Bucker, Trustee of the National Forest Trek, said: “This exciting and transformative journey will offer a fantastic experience for everyone involved as they discover the awesome natural beauty of the National Forest. Whether you’re planning on tackling the 75-mile challenge or the 5km hike, every mile will be rewarding, aware that you’re raising essential funds for three amazing charities that call the National Forest their home.”