With walkers’ safety, social distancing, and the fact that some 70% of our staff are furloughed until October as reasons behind the cancellation, the charity would struggle to organise the event and we couldn’t guarantee the safety of walkers.
Recognising the importance of the Five Valleys Walk to both the local population and those further afield, the charity is hoping to launch a nationwide Fabulous Virtual Walk (FVW) later in the summer. This new event will capture the essence and spirit of a walk that has been an important part of the Stroud Valleys since it was first held 33 years ago, whilst providing people an opportunity to support the charity during this challenging time.
Dr Tom Nutt, CEO at Meningitis Now, said, “This has not been an easy decision to take as the Five Valleys Walk plays an important part of the charity’s efforts to raise awareness of meningitis and in our plans to raise much-needed funds to pay for the work that we do – both of which have become significantly more difficult during the pandemic.”
Important part of the town's history
Over 2,000 people typically take on the challenging 21-mile walk, which takes in some the region's spectacular views. Many people are serial FVW veterans, having donned boots many times - some even choose to run the route - but all do it to help protect people for this devastating disease and provide support for those who have experienced it.
“The Five Valleys Walk is an important part of the town’s history as it was one of the first fundraising events following a devastating outbreak of meningitis in 1986 that resulted 14 cases and two deaths, mainly amongst children and teenagers," said Dr Nutt.
“The Walk is in memory of those who were lost, but also to the parents, families, and friends that created the charity and those who stand shoulder to shoulder with us today. Yes, the coronavirus pandemic has caused us to make cancel this year’s event, but it has also enabled us to create a new national event, with our Five Valleys Walk at its heart, and one that I hope will resonate and encourage the participation of those that enjoy our more traditional offer which we very hope will return in 2021.”
More information about the new Fabulous Virtual Walk will be published in August - keep an eye on our Five Valleys Walk 2020 page for more details.