Walking festival takes fundraiser’s widower back to Yorkshire Dales family roots

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FOR Jane Tomlinson, it was always a rural retreat that held a special place in her heart.

Now the charity inspired by the Yorkshire-born fundraiser, who lived in Rothwell before losing her battle with cancer 12 years ago, has announced that a new trail and walking festival will be held in the Yorkshire Dales.

Mike Tomlinson with Jake Salter, Katy Dronsfield and dog Doris out walking the  area, a favourite with his late wife Jane. PIC: Simon Hulme

Mike Tomlinson with Jake Salter, Katy Dronsfield and dog Doris out walking the area, a favourite with his late wife Jane. PIC: Simon Hulme

The Yorkshire Dales Festival will be staged by the Run For All charity on Sunday, May 31, and will give walkers and runners of all abilities the chance to explore the National Park.

Centred on Settle, which was the childhood home of Mrs Tomlinson’s widower, Mike, the festival will feature five-mile and 16-mile trail runs along with five, 16 and 26-mile walks to take in landmarks across the Dales such as the Ribblehead Viaduct, Malham Cove and Malham Tarn.

Mr Tomlinson, who is the charity’s chief executive officer, said: “Growing up in Settle, I was lucky to be surrounded by such a fantastic landscape to explore.

“So when looking to host a trail run and walking festival, it was an easy decision when it came to location.

“Jane and I often used to escape the city and jump on the train out to Settle for the day to enjoy a day of exploring. As a family, we have a real soft spot for the area, so this will continue to be a very special addition to our calendar and we hope the festival will be something that other families can enjoy together.”

The event mirrors The Yorkshire Dales Festival which began in 2011 and ran for three years, although the revised guise has added the trail runs. The charity also stages a marathon in York, four half-marathon and 10K races.

Wakefield-born Mrs Tomlinson raised nearly £2m for charity in sporting challenges after being diagnosed with terminal cancer before her death in 2007.