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Cheers and cash with a high-speed Sir Beefy
8:58am Monday 20th October 2008 in Regional Video
SIR Ian Botham was cheered on by thousands of people as he finished his nine-day, nationwide charity walk on Saturday.
Sir Ian, who lives in Ravensworth, near Richmond, North Yorkshire, started his walk in aid of Leukaemia Research, from Durham City.
The walk’s first section – at 4.7 miles an hour – went through Durham, Sacriston, Daisy Hill, Edmondsley, Grange Villa, and West Pelton, before arriving at Beamish nine miles away.
Along the way, residents and shopkeepers came out to cheer, encourage, and drop money into collecting buckets. Cars, taxis, and even two service buses, also stopped to donate.
At Beamish, children, parents, and “19th Century” miners cheered Sir Ian as he completed a loop of the tourist attraction, while the waiting press filmed from a tram – the only way they could keep up.
Then scores of members of the public, who had each raised a minimum of £250 for Leukaemia Research, joined Sir Ian for the final seven miles, along disused train routes to Chester-le-Street.
As when he famously helped England beat Australia to take the Ashes in 1981, Sir Ian’s speed didn’t drop – if anything, it increased.
He was back in Chesterle- Street well before 2pm, having left Durham at 10am.
At the Riverside, walkers were greeted by medals, music, yet more cameras, and, most importantly, a snack.
It was the last leg of the walk and Sir Ian’s 12th for Leukaemia Research. It started on Friday, October 10, in Taunton, Somerset, where his cricket career began, and finished in Durham, which saw the end of his playing days.
Other towns blessed by Beefy’s presence included Windsor, Stratford-upon-Avon, Llandudno, and Harrogate, North Yorkshire.
Before the North-East leg, £230,000 had already been thrown into the buckets, with much more MONDAY, OCTOBER 20, 2008 The Northern Echo northernecho.co.uk REGIONAL NEWS 5 Have your say northernecho.co.uk/forum Cheers and cash with a high-speed Sir Beefy raised online and through individual sponsorship.
Sir Ian, knighted last year, has raised more than £10m for Leukaemia Research, which he began supporting as a 21-year-old after seeing children being treated in a Taunton hospital.
His fundraising efforts have helped the childhood survival rate to increase from 17 per cent to about 85 per cent.
Speaking on the Riverside’s outfield, as confetti rained down, Sir Ian said: “It has gone fantastically well. As ever, the public have come out to support us, and we’re all grateful for the welcome we got in County Durham.”
■ To donate, visit bothamwalk.com