50 walks in 50 days for The James Cook University Hospital

Gareth Dockerty

Gareth Dockerty

Gareth is BASC’s upland officer. Having joined in 2016, his current role focuses on ensuring decision makers, stakeholders and the public understand the benefits of shooting for upland habitats and rural communities.

Last month, I was fortunate to join Helen Benson from the Gamekeepers Welfare Trust (GWT) on one of her charity walks. Helen’s challenge involved walking 50 walks in 50 days consecutively to raise funds for The James Cook University Hospital.

Why 50 walks in 50 days

In 2018, Helen’s husband Mick underwent a triple heart bypass at The James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough. The 50 walks in 50 days challenge was Helen’s way of helping raise funds for the people who saved his life.

The moorland walk I joined was Helen’s twenty-seventh walk. It was hosted by the North Yorkshire Moors Moorland Organisation (NYMMO) and took in the stunning scenery and history of the North York Moors.

Catching up with Helen

Joining Helen on this walk was a great chance to catch up on the broader work of the GWT and in particular the Year of the Gamekeeper. Covid-19 has impacted the shooting community like it has almost all of society. 

Helen said: “We have been working with some gamekeepers, and their families, who lost their jobs because of the pandemic, particularly back in the spring when the future was more uncertain. As always, GWT is here to support gamekeepers, ghillies and stalkers either with financial and educational grants or advice. Our helpline, 0300 1233088, is there for anybody in need.”

Tina Brough from NYMMO said: “The GWT is a truly fantastic organisation and a lifeline to so many gamekeepers. We were pleased to host one of Helen’s 50 walks in 50 days and be a little part of her latest challenge.”

Furthermore, executive director of operations Steve Bloomfield discussed how BASC is supporting the GWT and the plans to continue the Year of the Gamekeeper campaign into 2021 in his recent live video for BASC’s Countryside Workshop. Watch it back here.

Show your support or get involved

You can still donate to Helen’s 50 walks in 50 days challenge by visiting her Just Giving Page here.

To find out more about the Year of the Gamekeeper, visit BASC’s dedicated page here.

For the very latest Covid-19 guidance on shooting, click here.