Support volunteers needed for Dales challenge weekend

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They are the unsung heroes upon whose efforts brave walkers taking part in Trailtrekker rely dearly.

Now, with little more than two weeks to go until the fourth distance walking event takes place, the plea has gone out for volunteers to come forward to help support the participants complete the fundraising challenge.

Trailtrekker, an arduous night and day walk over 100km through the Yorkshire Dales, takes place over the weekend of May 26 and 27 to try to raise hundreds of thousands of pounds for Oxfam.

Altogether 230 teams of four will be participating this year but a group of 300 brave volunteers is also needed.

The organisers ostensibly say the duties primarily consist of handing out water, tea, coffee and biscuits along the route but a more vital role is that of the moral support the volunteers give to the walkers as they trek through a gruelling route.

Adrian Horton, from Halifax, has volunteered at the past three Trailtrekker events and knows more than most about how rewarding the experience can be.

“But by the time you have walked some 55 miles you are clearly going to be exhausted, having been walking more nearly 24 hours.

“You do get a lot of gratification from doing it.

“You get the odd ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ but mostly people are too tired.

“But that’s not why you do it, you do it because it is needed.”

Volunteers each typically put in an eight-hour shift at Trailtrekker.

Oxfam last year said that four out of five people at last year’s event had said they enjoyed the experience.

A spokeswoman said: “The main responsibilities are providing moral support to the walkers as they take on their epic challenge – their words of encouragement really help the walkers to keep going.

“This can be in a variety of locations, from the event HQ at Aireville School in Skipton, to some of the most beautiful and remote parts of the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

“Volunteers also help with the behind the scenes organisation such as registration processes.

“ All in all they are an essential part of the event, and Oxfam could not raise anything like as much money from the event without their help.

“The volunteers will be making a real contribution to fighting poverty and suffering around the world (including the UK), and will be helping to transform lives for the better.”

Participants will start in Skipton and walk through Malham, Ribblesdale, the Pennine Way, Wharfedale and Conistone before returning to the starting point.

The record for completing the challenging course is 13 hours, 26 minutes.

The Yorkshire Post is the official media partner for the event.

Volunteering information has been posted online – at www.oxfam.org.uk/Trailtrekker.