Cardgains walkers step up

£35,000 target for next week’s It’s Not Grim Up North challenge in aid of Mind


This time next week the pain will be over, euphoria setting in and – hopefully – the fundraising total for Cardgains’ 35th anniversary charity challenge will be totting up nicely!

With a £35,000 target for mental health charity Mind to match the buying group’s big birthday, there are 43 walkers all set to put their best foot forward for It’s Not Grim Up North on Thursday, 27 June, which is a 17½mile trek around Sheffield’s hills – with the option to go round again for a 35mile tally.

Above: This year’s target is £35,000 to match Cardgains’ anniversary
Above: This year’s target is £35,000 to match Cardgains’ anniversary

Late additions to the 19 teams taking part has pushed the current total on the JustGiving pages to almost £11,000 and Cardgains’ md Penny Shaw said: “I hope everyone is well and clocking up some training mileage! I’ve been hearing and seeing some fabulous fun training expeditions so well done to those of you who are on it!

“Those fit enough to get stuck in without training, then I bow to your superior fitness!

“I’ve ordered t-shirts to walk in from Mind – it’s really impactful to the public when a group are out in the same t-shirts and has been known for people to offer cash on the way round.

“There are a couple of collection boxes available if anyone would like to carry one to accost unsuspecting members of the public!”

The route follows the Sheffield Round Walk loop that connects the steel city’s centre with its surrounding countryside, plus a bit extra to get to and from the challenge base at The Hilton Doubletree Hotel, in Chesterfield Road, and much of the route is through woodland and parks.

Penny laughed: “It’s a hilly one, I’m not going to lie, Sheffield is built on seven hills so the walkers will probably visit most of them – although this is shorter than our usual challenges, there are a few tricky hills and dales to negotiate.

Above & top: Hugs & Kisses’ Caroline and Jon Ranwell have been enjoying their training
Above & top: Hugs & Kisses’ Caroline and Jon Ranwell have been enjoying their training

“The terrain is tricky in places, though for fear of sounding like a gentleman from the 50s, a pair of stout walking shoes should suffice – I’ll be wearing my trusty boots.”

Start time is set for 10am, although the support team will be meeting at the hotel at 9.30am  to hand out walk t-shirts, register participants, write their walk numbers on hands, and keep the check lists up to date so no one goes awol.

Everyone will receive a sheet showing the route, which is also well signposted, and – unlike on many previous challenges in the countryside – there are various toilet points along the way plus various hostelries and stores for refreshments.

The support team will be waiting at strategic points during the day, and phone numbers will be distributed for anyone getting lost or in any difficulty, with the lunch pick up of sandwiches, crisps, chocolates and drinks at Endcliffe Park around 12.30-1pm.

Explaining this year’s charity choice Penny added: “We chose Mind because there is a lot about mental health for people day to day and everyone is becoming more aware of the issues in some of the saddest situations. It’s at the forefront of the news.”

Once everyone’s back, comparing blisters can take place in the bar from 6.30pm and at the evening celebration at the hotel, with clean celebration t-shirts for all.

Above: There was a charity break for Ian Bradley, of Rush Design, when his sausage sarnie stop saw the seat collapse during a training walk
Above: There was a charity break for Ian Bradley, of Rush Design, when his sausage sarnie stop saw the seat collapse during a training walk

Those taking part this year are: Abacus Cards, Darren Thomas, Steve Coulson; Barclays Bank, Tom Cawkwell; Cardgains, Helen McManus, Penny Shaw; Cards & Gifts Dronfield, Oliver Guise-Smith; Creative Sparrow, Hannah Curtis; Doodle Press, Chaye’lee McQuade; Alan Holmes; GCA, Adriana Lovesy; Gemar UK, Julie Dunham, Mark Drury;Giftware Association, Alina Masood, Sarah Ward, Chris Workman; History & Heraldry, Louise Isherwood, Jamie Wilkins; House of Cards, Miles Robinson, Nigel Williamson, Tracy Murray, Naomi Light; Hugs & Kisses Tettenhall, Caroline Ranwell, Jon Ranwell; Jacksons CRS, Rob Jackson, Alison Baker, Claire Wilson; Nigel Quiney Publications, Carl Pledger, Jenny Weare; NW Card & Gift Agencies, Nigel Willcock; Paper Salad, Claire Williams, Ellie Woodlock; Pioneer, Anna Hickman, Rozane Barnard; Presentation Barrowford, Andrea Pinder; Progressive Greetings, Warren Lomax; Rainbow Designs, Helen Covell, Jayne Plackett; Rush Design, Lorraine Bradley, Ian Bradley; Skylight Media, Simon Pryce; UK Greetings, Matthew James; Windles Group, Nicola Marshall; Words ’N’ Wishes, Tony Cottrell.

Last year’s Look Out London event had an incredible result, with 50 walkers doubling the original target to raise £50,000 for the Motor Neurone Disease Association, while the 2022 Ultimate Ullswater event saw 37 industry folk complete the challenge in the Lake District, eventually totalling a £26,645 donation to Alzheimer’s Society.

Over the past 25 years Cardgains’ charity events have covered over 1,600 miles and raised more than £400,000. To donate to It’s Not Grim Up North, click here.

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