Heysham woman and her dog undertake mammoth walking challenge to help counselling charity for victims of sexual assault

A Heysham woman is completing a virtual walk of almost 900 miles for a charity close to her heart.

Tuesday, 27th April 2021, 9:22 am
Lorraine McCullough with Marley.

Lorraine McCullough - and her faithful cocker spaniel Marley - are undertaking the 874-mile Lejog10 virtual walk from Land's End to John o'Groats.

All money raised by Lorraine's task will go towards The Birchall Trust, a free counselling service helping the survivors of sexual abuse and rape, funded by donations and grants.

"It is a charity who have helped and supported me with counselling to build a better and more fulfilled life," the 63-year-old said. "Whilst receiving counselling, many a time my head would be in a mess, I would come home, put Marley's lead on and walk to level my head.

"So who better to walk for than The Birchall Trust.

"Walking every mile for them is part of my way of saying thank you to them all, and especially to my counsellor."

Lorraine and Marley are spending much of their time walking along the coast of Morecambe and Heysham to add to their miles.

"When I first saw the challenge, I thought there is no way we can do that!" she said. "But the more I thought about it, the more I realised that we walk every day, and so long as we do three miles a day, then we can complete it by the end of the year."

Lorraine and Marley began their challenge on January 8, and have so far completed more than 600 miles and raised more than £600.

You can donate to the cause and follow Lorraine's progress here.The Birchall Trust - originally called South Cumbria Rape and Abuse Service (SCRAS) - was established by Christine Birchall in 1991 as a community response to the lack of support for rape and sexual abuse victims in the local area.

It originally operated as an entirely volunteer based organisation supported by community fundraising, but has successfully developed into an established service provider, whilst still retaining its original ethos and local identity.

They now offer support in four locations across south Cumbria and north Lancashire, as well as providing online therapy. The charity is marking its 25th anniversary this year and has recently set up a hub in Morecambe.

The charity covers issues including childhood abuse, child sexual exploitation, trafficking, sex workers and online abuse, and also offers pre-trial therapy to any clients who are going through a criminal investigation.