High-vis put aside for hiking boots on trek

The team of Openreach engineers which walked the wall.
The team of Openreach engineers which walked the wall.

A team of Openreach engineers took on one of Northumberland’s most iconic landmarks to raise money for worthy causes.

Setting off early last Thursday from Bowness-on-Solway, the 16 engineers, who are all from the Northumberland and Wearside area, walked around 90 miles, following Hadrian’s Wall, eventually arriving back home in the North East after the three-day adventure.

Each step along the way helped them to raise money in memory of former colleagues, friends and family.

Organiser Brian Cosgrove, an Openreach operations manager from Cramlington, said: “We’re fund-raising for two charities very close to our hearts – Armed-Forces charity SSAFA and Cancer Research UK. Five of the team are former members of the Armed Forces and others have seen first-hand the incredible work SSAFA does so we were really keen to support them.

“Sadly, cancer has touched just about everyone we know so we were all in agreement that Cancer Research UK was also an important choice.”

Openreach engineer Bruce Hodges, who lives in Newbiggin and served in The Royal Artillery for 26 years before joining Openreach, is just one of the 60,000 people that SSAFA helps and supports each year.

When his close friend, a former soldier, committed suicide, Bruce had the task of organising the funeral and SSAFA was there to help.

He said: “I can’t stress enough how important it is to support SSAFA. The practical help and emotional support they gave me made an extremely difficult time more bearable.”

Before setting off, he added: “This challenge will be tough, but nowhere near as tough as the experiences men and women in the armed forces have to deal with.”

The Walk the Wall team has set itself a fund-raising target of £2,000 which they are hoping they will exceed.

The team can be sponsored at https://mydonate.bt.com/teams/wtw
James Davis, SSAFA corporate partnerships account manager, said: “SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity, is very grateful to the Openreach team for their efforts in this challenge.”