Cancer charity trek into Bladgon Estate’s unseen areas

A six-mile charity walk will take 500 fundraisers to parts of a Northumberland estate which have never before been open to the public

Blagdon Hall estate manager Bob Downer walks through the gardens
Blagdon Hall estate manager Bob Downer walks through the gardens

A six-mile charity walk will take 500 fundraisers to parts of a Northumberland estate which have never before been open to the public.

The Children’s Cancer Walk will see people explore sections of Blagdon Estate next month which are normally only accessible by invitation from Viscount Matthew Ridley.

The event at the estate’s grounds, near to Stannington, on September 21, will raise money for North of England Children’s Cancer Research (NECCR), and will be attended by world-renowned author Bill Bryson.

Bob Downer, chief executive of Blagdon Estates, said: “In recent years we have welcomed several charities on to the estate including Macmillan, Hospice Care, National Gardens Scheme and the like. Generally we have around six open days per year. “

The only general public access at other times is along public and permitted footpaths across the estate.

“To my knowledge Blagdon has never hosted a sponsored walk such as this one and we are very pleased that we are able to help on this occasion,” Mr Downer said.

“The planned route will extend around the estate and there will be a significant section of the walk which goes through woodlands which are never available to the general public and will be a unique experience.

“The walk will also extend over the newly-restored south park area. This area was the Delhi surface mine and a couple of years ago the walkers would have been up to 80m below ground.

“Now they will enjoy spectacular views of the park including a unique long-distance view of the south elevation of Blagdon Hall.”

Event organiser for NECCR, Tony Gilroy, said: “The route will cover six miles through one of the biggest private estates in the North East.

“Blagdon is not normally open to the public and entry is by invitation only, so we’re very grateful to Viscount Ridley, who will be there to welcome walkers to his estate.

“The choice of venue holds historic significance to NECCR as the Ridley family has contributed hugely to children’s health throughout the 20th century.”

Mr Downer said the viscount agreed to the walk because of his family’s close links to NECCR.

“The current Lord Ridley’s late grandmother, Ursula, was the chair of the Newcastle Infirmary, Forth Banks hospital and children’s hospital in 1930, the very hospital where James Spence practiced pediatrics, and they were very good friends,” he said.

Sir James Calvert Spence was a pioneer in children’s health and the NECCR building at the RVI – the Sir James Spence Institute -– is named after him.

Tickets for the Children’s Cancer Walk are £10 and all proceeds will go to the NECCR fund. Children go free but spaces are limited to 500 walkers.

People will meet at 10.30am at Blagdon Hall aiming to start the six-mile route at 11am, stopping at the halfway point where refreshments will be available.

There will also be an art exhibition courtesy of students at Sir James Calvert Spence College in Amble.

Visit www.neccr.org.uk for more details and to by tickets or follow @NECCRrun on Twitter.

 

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