Stride out for ‘fantastic’ fundraiser

WHEN it comes to breathtaking landscapes, watercolour painter Ashley Jackson shares a common canvas with the Yorkshire Dales Walking Festival.

Artist Ashley Jackson with Mike Tomlinson at Pen-y-ghent for the launch of this year's Yorkshire Dales Walking Festival
Artist Ashley Jackson with Mike Tomlinson at Pen-y-ghent for the launch of this year's Yorkshire Dales Walking Festival

The Holmfirth-based artist braved the bracing winter air to officially kick off the countdown to this year’s event – organised by the Jane Tomlinson Appeal – by sketching an outdoor drawing of Pen-y-Ghent, one of the famous fells to feature on the fundraising challenge’s gruelling route.

“I always say about the landscape that many people look but few see – as in they have no time to stop and see the intricacies,” said Mr Jackson.

“The same can be said about worthwhile charities: unless you have been involved or supported by such an organisation you don’t always see the important role that they play in an individual’s life.

Artist Ashley Jackson with Mike Tomlinson at Pen-y-ghent for the launch of this year's Yorkshire Dales Walking Festival

“The Yorkshire Dales Walking Festival is a fantastic way to combine both supporting charity whilst enjoying the superb scenery of Malham Cove, Pen-y-Ghent and Ingleborough, which I have painted many times.”

Mr Jackson was joined by Mike Tomlinson, widower of inspirational fundraiser Jane, at the launch of the third annual event in her memory yesterday.

Mrs Tomlinson, who died aged 43 in 2007, captured the hearts of the nation as she raised £1.85m for good causes in a series of endurance challenges while battling cancer.

To date, the namesake appeal she and her family set up to stand as her legacy has raised more than £4m for children’s and cancer charities.

The festival, which takes place this year on Sunday, August 18, is one of a series of For All walks, runs and swims the charity has organised since 2007.

Mr Tomlinson said: “We had always wanted to do a mass participation walk and this was the first one we launched. I’m still blown away by the level of support it has had from day one and I think this year will be even bigger and better than before.”

The event, which starts and finishes in his home town of Settle, would always have a place close to his heart, he added.

“Settle will always be a special place for my family. I’m always moved on event day to see so many people filling the market place and then setting off for a great day’s walking,” he said.

This year’s event is part of the charity’s new Wake Up To Walking campaign which encourages people to get into the great outdoors and explore the countryside.

Walkers can select from courses of 28, 14 or five miles and proceeds from their entry fees go to the Jane Tomlinson Appeal.

Participants can raise sponsorship money for any cause of their choice, but are particularly encouraged to support the festival’s partner charities.

As well as the appeal itself, this year they include Macmillan Cancer Support, Martin House Children’s Hospice, Diabetes UK, Heart Research UK, Epilepsy Action, Yorkshire Cancer Research, Parkinson’s UK, and Arthritis UK.

Representatives from a number of the charities were also at yesterday’s launch at the Pen-y-Ghent cafe in Horton-in-Ribblesdale.

Nicola Jones, national events programme manager for Macmillan Cancer Support, said: “We are delighted to be involved with Walk for All for the second year running. 

“The Yorkshire Dales Walking Festival was fantastic last year and by signing up with team Macmillan your fundraising can really make a difference to the lives of those affected by cancer.”

Michael White, fundraising events officer at Epilepsy Action, added: “Every step our walkers take will help to support the 600,000 people with epilepsy across the UK.”

The festival is supported by the Yorkshire Post, Northern Rail, Craven District Council, Stray FM, the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority and the National Trust.

Registration is now open and entry fees range from £8 to £20 depending on the course, with family discounts available for the five-mile walk. For more details and to sign up, visit