Group of school friends raise over £12,000 in honour of a Sunderland dad who died from liver failure
A group of school friends have completed a 27-mile long walk around Kielder Water, raising around £12,500 in the process, to honour their friend Anthony Simpson who died from liver failure.
Sunderland dad Anthony Simpson known as “Simps” to those closest to him, died on April 7 aged just 31 after battling liver failure since he was a teenager.
Anthony, who worked as a Warehouse manager at T5 Seaham, leaves behind his wife Kathryn, 31, and their two-year-old daughter Melah.
The couple, who married in 2016 and had lived in Tunstall, had been together for 11 years when Anthony died.
As a way of remembering Anthony, his friends carried out a 27 mile walk around Kielder Water on Saturday, June 12, while raising money for LIVErNORTH – a small charity based in the Freeman Hospital who provide accommodation and support for those who have family members undergoing liver transplants.
One of the organisers, Sam Riches, 30, from Doxford Park has told the Echo how the memory walk went, describing it as “lovely but emotional”.
He said: “We were picked up at 5.30am and got to Kielder for around 7am and before we started, we spread some of Anthony’s ashes in the lake which was obviously an emotional start.
"We managed to finish the walk in under eight hours which was a faster pace than we thought we’d do it in, I picked up an injury and the sun made it difficult but we got through it.
"It was a big bonding trip, the atmosphere was really nice and we laughed the whole way while talking about Anthony and saying how much he would have loved it – he was definitely looking down on us smiling.
"His wife Kathryn and daughter Melah were waiting for us all at the end of the route with some treats and drinks – Melah went round and thanked everyone for walking for her dad.
"It was a lovely day and a lovely way to remember our friend and create some memories that will all be able to keep forever.”
A Go Fund Me page has so far raised over £7,500 with another direct donation of £5,000 already been given to the charity – massively beating the original £2,500 target.
Sam added: “The amount of support that we have received is just overwhelming, there has been well over 200 individual donations and in such difficult circumstances after Covid, we never thought we’d get to the amount that we have done.
"I can’t thank everyone enough, especially the people who donated supplies to us such as bottles of water and food for our walk.
"The Go Fund Me page will be running until Friday (June 25) and then we wouldn’t be taking anymore donations but just a massive thank you to everyone who has got behind the cause, it has really impacted people.”