Six tragic youngsters from the same Yorkshire village who have lost their lives over the last 15 years are being remembered in a new charity challenge - building on the £190,000 that friends and family of the boys have already raised for good causes.
Now 50 people who knew the six teenagers and young men, who all died before the age of 21, are tackling the Yorkshire’s three highest peaks together in 24 hours to raise money for causes close to their hearts.
The challenge on June 3 is in memory of Nick Walker, Alex Albiston, Ryan and Thomas Bothamley, Matthew Wilcock and Matthew Kiernan, who all came from Wickersley, near Rotherham in South Yorkshire.
Father-and-son Ryan and Thomas Bothamley both died from sudden adult death syndrome and their family and friends have raised money for the SADS UK organisation since Ryan’s death in 2002, when he was aged just 15. Tragically, his son Tom, a promising footballer, died from the same condition last year aged 13.
Nick Walker was 16 when he died in 2008 after being involved in a road accident.
Both Alex Albiston and Matthew Wilcox died in 2010. Alex, who was 18, had bone cancer, while Matthew, 19, died in an accident after falling into the River Aire.
Matthew Kiernan took his own life in 2012 at the age of 20.
Funds raised will be split evenly between The Children’s Hospital Charity, Bone Cancer Research, SADS UK and the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM). The group will be tackling the mountains of Whernside, Ingleborough and Pen-y-ghent in the Yorkshire Dales.
The walk is being led by Scott Bailey, aged 28, from the Nick Walker memorial fund. He said: “The aim of this challenge is to show support to everyone as a group. Everyone’s friends and families get behind all of the individual fundraising teams and charities so this time, we wanted to get together and fundraise as a group.
“I’m incredibly proud to be part of such an amazing group of people. The togetherness is simply incredible and it will continue to keep on being strong, as everyone supports and pushes each other, as we look to do our own different challenges, events and fundraising tasks for the foreseeable future.”
Scott adds: “We wanted to start off this new style of group fundraising with the Yorkshire Three Peaks, with an eye on completing the National Three Peaks next year.
“Most of the walkers don’t own a pair of walking boots - so I’m sure the local shops around South Yorkshire will be expecting a decent trade in the next couple of weeks!”
‘Team Wick’ hope the event will raise £3,000 to share between the various good causes.
Cheryl Davidson, from The Children’s Hospital Charity, said: It is fantastic to see the community come together to remember these young men and boys. Every penny raised helps good causes that can ensure other families don’t have to suffer in the same way.”
Thomas Bothamley’s uncle Lewis Carder said: “This year we wanted to come together and do a fundraising event as one to bring the village together. To lose six young people in the same village is traumatic. It should never happen to anyone, never mind six. It will be a painful but emotional day and will be all very worth it. We are a close community and when tragic events happen we come together.”
To donate, visit Wickersley Three Peaks