16 September 2016 - Walking to Support our Blue Light Heroes

Blue light walkersEmergency crews at North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust (NWAS) are renowned for saving lives but in just over a week’s time, one dedicated group will be ditching their four wheels in favour of two legs to save lives in a completely different way as they attempt to walk from coast to coast in aid of the Mind Blue Light Programme.

Emergency services workers deal with traumatic and harrowing incidents on a daily basis, they do all they can to help the people in their care but often forget to look after themselves. Mental health charity, Mind, has reported that one in four emergency services workers have considered taking their own life which was the inspiration behind the ‘Blue Light Walk.’

A team from Fylde made up of Emergency Medical Technician 1 (EMT1), Dan Farnworth, Paramedic, Rich Morton, Paramedic Lecturer, Gill Despard and Senior Paramedic, Phil Baggaley will be embarking on a six day trek from Scarborough to Blackpool dropping in on as many Police, Fire, Ambulance and RNLI stations along the way as possible, spreading the word about support for mental health within emergency services.

The walk, which was applauded in Parliament yesterday, will commence on Sunday 25 September at Scarborough RNLI where the team are asking for support during their ‘first steps’ by joining them for a 22 and a half mile walk to Pickering.

The team will spend the next five days walking from Pickering to Broughton, near Preston, before embarking on ‘the last leg’ from Broughton Ambulance Station to RNLI Blackpool where they challenge members of the public to join them for the final 19 miles before a celebratory reception at The Beach House Bistro & Bar in Blackpool.

The team have had huge support from their emergency services colleagues and members of the public from up and down the country and are hoping to smash their target of £5,000.

Member of the Blue Light Team and EMT1, Dan, says: “We would love for as many people as possible to join us for the first steps or last leg. We’re raising money for a very important cause that is close to our hearts as we’re helping to support the lives of those who save lives!”

Paramedic and Blue Light Walker, Richard adds: “We all have mental health; we’ve got to look after it.”

Mind has found that emergency services are even more at risk of experiencing a mental health problem than the general population, but are less likely to seek support. The mental health charity’s Blue Light Programme has set up a dedicated infoline which provides independent and confidential support and advice specifically for emergency service staff, volunteers and their families.

In order to boost their fundraising, the team have been attending events up and down the North West selling merchandise and spreading the word about the Blue Light Programme.

A ‘Blue Light Walk Charity Ball’ is also being held on Saturday 1 October at AFC Fylde Football Stadium, Wesham. All members of the public are invited to attend this black tie event with four course meal, entertainment and special guest presenter, Joey Blower.

Tickets for all events, along with lots more information about the work of the team and how to sponsor them, are available through the website, www.bluelightwalk.com