Tag Archives: charity

Hadrian’s Walk Seemed A Good Idea Eight Months Ago

I can’t quite remember the day when at Dan at All That Comes With It mooted his absolutely barking idea to have a bunch of bloggers march from one end of Hadrian’s wall to another for the benefit of the Joseph Salmon Trust (Donate! Donate!) but I was definitely having breakfast.
“There’s a bunch of bloggers marching across Hadrian’s Wall for charity,” I mentioned to supermum. The children must already have left the room or nothing resembling a conversation would have been taking place.
“You should go,” she said. “It’ll be good for you.”
“Well, maybe I will. Could you cope with the two of them for a week?”
“Don’t see why not. Could you cope with all those strange blogging types?”
Supermum doesn’t blog or Twitter. Or pay any attention to LinkedIn. She does have a Facebook profile but regards that as socially normative. You could say that she harbours certain prejudices about bloggers in general or me in particular. She also knows that the major questions for me would be “Could I cope with all these people I’ve never met? Could I share a room with strangers? Keep up conversations all day and into the evening without going insane? Deal with not being by myself for a whole week?”
Well, we’ll see, won’t we? Everyone I’ve met is lovely (come on – these are people who’ve given up a week of their time to trudge across the north of England and raise nearly £20 – loveliness is part of their job description). But, God, I’m tired – and that’s after only 6 miles!
“Good for you” is also supermum-speak for “You might actually speak to people.” I have. Dan, for example and I had the odd sense that I’d known him for simply ages. Weird, huh? But good weird.
Another weird thing was being the one presented with the bill for twelve people in the Indian restaurant this evening. Perhaps I looked the most authoratative. Perhaps I annoyed the waiter the most.
I’m also pretty sure I’m glad I’ve come, though hearing how little elf cried because I wasn’t there and dudelet whispered “I miss daddy” just before he went to sleep can sap a man’s resolve a little. I just have to remind myself that they don’t seem to care that much when I’m actually at home (even though it isn’t exactly true).
And finally, here’s an iPhone picture of a weird Newcastle shop. How many instances of “weird” was that?

Hadrian’s Walkers and the Joseph Salmon Trust

This July, I’ll be joining a decidedly international group of bloggers convened by Dan Hughes of All That Comes With It to walk the length of Hadrian’s Wall in support of the Joseph Salmon Trust , a small charity that supports parents who have lost a child in the Huddersfield and Mirfield area of the North of England. In the UK, a shameful number of families still live below the poverty line. Subsistence without state help is an impossibility if you’re caught in that sort of trap and a loving, dignified response to the death of a child is simply impossible. Even something as basic as a headstone is subject to state taxes of 15%. For example, a 2009 article in the Independent placed costs of the average funeral at £7,098.

For disadvantaged families, this is one burden too many at the worst moment in the life of any parent.

The Joseph Salmon Trust was set up after the Salmon family suffered their own loss.

Just over a year after Joseph died, Neil (Joseph’s father) began to think about ways in which other families in a similar situation might be helped. It came to light that, despite there being a number of counselling and research charities related to losing a child, there was nothing specifically to deal with the expenses that ‘saying goodbye’ to the child can incur.

But why, with horrors in the world such as the disasters in Haiti and Chile, should one support arguably less “essential’ services such as helping to pay for funeral expenses? I think we should do both. I try to contribute through the major charities such as Save The Children to the work of those who try to improve the lives of children globally. But I also believe that we need to improve lives closer to home too. If we don’t engage with the inequalities and injustices in our own society, how can we properly empathise and engage with those in the wider world? In ancient societies and so-called ‘primitive’ societies today, funeral rites were a time of community support and grieving. Families did not have to deal with such terrible moments alone. In 21st century Britain, funerals have become another expensive commodity deemed ‘inessential’.

I also had an even more visceral response when I first heard about the Trust last year. I read Dan’s post about the Salmon family, cried and decided that this was something I wanted to provide a little help to.

I’ve set up a Just Giving page for my part walk (hopefully I’ve got it right) and I’d ask you to contribute. This is an anonymous blog to some extent so do check in with Dan or just give straight to the Trust if you prefer (but please let me know – Dan’s given us hefty targets to meet!).

Thanks for reading so far. I’ll be plugging this now and again all being well, I’ll be devoted an entire post to my sore feet in July.