A unique fund-raising initiative is set to open up a window into Teesside’s past and future as well as raising money for a wide range of local charities.
Middlesbrough Erimus Rotary is bringing together local companies, civic bodies and Middlesbrough College Group to create the Tees Heritage Walk.
Taking place on the last day of Coronation Week – Sunday 14 May – the event will see people complete a series of sponsored fund-raising challenge walks along the banks of the River Tees.
Walkers can choose to take a variety of routes, ranging from a six-mile one-way stroll to a full circular 12-mile trek from Middlesbrough College to Stockton’s Millennium Bridge and back. There will also be a special accessible route for wheelchair users.
Along the way, those taking part will be able to find out more about the history of the River Tees and the industries which grew up along its banks via a series of information points and digital links situated at points along the various routes.
As well as looking back, the information points and digital links will give walkers a glimpse into the area’s future with details on Teesside’s plans for progress towards Net Zero.
It is hoped that the Tees Heritage Walk can become an annual fixture after this inaugural event.
Geoff Taylor, President of Erimus Rotary, said: “This is a really exciting opportunity for Teessiders to show both pride in and support for their communities by celebrating our rich history and signposting our plans for a greener future.
“It’s a chance to get out and about and to see just how much the area has changed, even in the recent past.
“We have been planting trees and bulbs beside the river for over a year now and many people will be surprised by how different the area is now compared to what it was like when industry was at its height.
“By getting sponsored to do the challenge on this new green travel route, this will be a great way to raise funds for many good causes right across the area.”
The Rotary Club has pulled together a formidable team of organisations to help create the event, which was formally launched at Middlesbrough College on Tuesday (28 February).
Among those helping to stage the Tees Heritage Walk are Groundwork North East & Cumbria, PD Ports, Teesside West and Cleveland Rotary Clubs and the Canal & River Trust, who manage the Tees Barrage.
Students at Middlesbrough College have also been heavily involved in the project in a wide range of ways including:
- Art and design students creating the Tees Heritage Walk logo
- A-level History students carrying out research into the heritage of the Tees and writing the narratives for the digital information points
- Technology and digital students digitising the content and creating QR codes for the information points
- Construction students making and installing the physical Tees Heritage Walk signage along the routes
- Public services students acting as stewards and guides for walkers on the day
Middlesbrough College Group Principal and Chief Executive Zoe Lewis said: “We were originally approached by the Rotary Club to see if our students wanted to take part in the walk but we saw it as a great learning opportunity and a way for our students to use their skills in a practical context to help the local community.
“Hopefully over time, it would be great if each year, new learners at the College can get involved with the project, to learn more about Teesside’s industrial past and to do something with their newly acquired skills.”
Middlesbrough Mayor Andy Preston, who attended the Tees Heritage Walk launch event, said: “This is an absolutely fantastic initiative that will do the world of good for everyone who gets involved. With its combination of exercise, history and charity fundraising, the Tees Heritage Walk is good for the mind and body.
“I applaud Erimus Rotary for such a brilliant idea that deserves all the support.”
The inaugural Tees Heritage Walk will take place on Sunday 14 May and participation is open to charitable organisations and the public across Teesside.
For more information and to find out how to take part please visit the Erimus Rotary website here.