Baton relay to honour key workers' dedication during pandemic goes virtual
A baton relay which was to be staged throughout the North East has been cancelled to keep people safe – with a virtual event to be held in its place.
The We Remember Them Relay had due to be held from the Scottish Borders down to the edge of North Yorkshire from early next month, bringing together sea swimmers, walkers, runners, horse riders, kayakers and more as they passed the baton south.
But after a outpouring of support for the region’s leg, its overall organisers have said due to the “ongoing uncertainty around regional lockdowns and travel restrictions, coupled with the huge response we've had to the campaign” it will now be virtual.
This will see individuals and smaller groups host their own leg, with funds raised going to the Laura Hyde Foundation,which offers mental health support for frontline workers.
The baton had been due to be taken to GP surgeries, hospitals and other health care bases, police, fire, ambulance, Coastguard and RNLI stations among others, with a poem read at a number of posts.
Jane Hardy had volunteered to pull together the timetable for the region, with a number of helpers and representatives of swimming groups helping pin down the finer details for each section of the route.
She said: “There were so many outdoor swimmers and other people across the North East it took off and really was a team effort.
"There was so much support from across the region, it was just incredible.
"We are disappointed, but want to thank all those who offered to take part.”
Key workers in the Alnwick area have been gifted treats thanks to a donation of £50 from the town’s Sainbury’s store following on from the cancellation of the event.
On the We Remember Them Facebook page, the organisers said: “We appreciate this is a big change for regional relay participants we've already been in contact with; and we're really sorry.
"But it's the only way WRT2021 can include thousands and thousands of participants from all around the UK in these very uncertain times.”
Participants who sign up have until the end of September to complete their challenge.