A group of colleagues from Wincanton’s Distribution Centre for Screwfix in Stafford met up for breakfast in the early hours of Saturday 11th March, before taking on the daunting task of hiking across the whole of Staffordshire!
The group, led by Adam Paton, 37, was made up of fellow workers Andy Hughes, Wayne Measures, John Waldron, Hayley Cunningham, Dan Emery, and Phil Day. They were joined by Stephanie McQueen, partner of Robbie Forrester, a transport team member at the site who tragically died last year.
The aim was to raise money for three causes – STING, Scotty’s little Soldiers, and also for the family of Robbie Forrester. Adam, a family man originally from Ardrossan in North Ayrshire, is a keen walker and he recently set himself and his team the challenge of walking from the south to the north of Staffordshire within 24 hours! A total of over 60 miles!!
The start point at 8am was the Staffordshire county border just below Whittington. The walkers could either attempt to walk the complete sixty plus miles of the route, or walk & ride as their stamina allowed. Andy Keefe from Wincanton’s caterers fuelled the walkers for their ordeal with breakfast & meals & drinks. Arnold Clark Ltd provided two minibuses as support vehicles for the challenge driven by colleagues Hayden Clarke and Peter Marenghi.
Their route took them along the A449 through Wolverhampton, and they reached Stafford more or less intact around late afternoon & gathered for a team photo in the centre of town. They then made their way to Stone Cemetery , where Robbie Forrester was laid to rest, and Stephanie and rest of the group paid their respects at his graveside, The route continued along the A520, with some walkers resting in the minibuses, but one of the walkers keen to complete the entire route on foot was Andy Hughes who was impressing the rest of the team with his stamina and determination.
The last stretch of the journey through Cheddleton & to Leek was tough, not only due to the continual climb, but because the weather turned to fog & mist, making it both demanding and unpleasant. While many of the walkers were determined to walk the final miles together, tragically Andy Hughes’ reserves of energy finally ran out less than 2 miles from the end. However, despite the dreadful conditions beyond Leek, the rest of the determined walkers made sure of a victorious conclusion and braved it out to the very end.
The challenge took 22 hours in total, and the end celebrations were weary and muted, but considerable pride was rightly felt by all involved. It is expected that over £3000 will have been raised for the three causes from the efforts of Adam Paton and his brave team.
Further donations to the causes will be gratefully received. Anyone wanting to support this marathon event, or learn more details of how Wincanton supports the local community or the work of the causes supported, should contact Peter Marenghi on firstname.lastname@example.org or phone him on 07736-522474.
STING (Staffordshire Therapeutic Independent Neurological Group), Charity of the Year at the site, works to support anybody in the area with a neurological condition. The group operates out of a specially adapted unit on the Whitebridge Estate in Stone which allows members to attend regular activities and take part in exercise classes and neurological therapies.
Scotty’s Little Soldiers aims to provide relief from the effects of bereavement to young people up to and including the age of 18 years who have suffered the loss of a parent serving with the British Armed Forces. The charity provides its beneficiaries with support and guidance throughout their childhood and offers a respite, however from the daily ups and downs of coping with the loss of a parent.
Robbie Forrester was also a Transport Team Member at Wincanton, and a friend and colleague of Adam’s. His sudden tragic death last year left a family without a loving partner and father, and was a shock to all at the Stafford Distribution Centre.