Norfolk’s High Sheriff walking across Europe to raise funds for unpaid carers
- Credit: Copyright: Archant 2018
Norfolk's outgoing High Sheriff will end his year in office with a fundraising 1,500-mile trek across Europe for the county's carers.
James Bagge, 65, who will handover the High Sheriff role on March 28 at King's Lynn Town Hall, starts his three-month Walking4Norfolk challenge the day after.
It begins at his Stradsett home and goes via Weymouth, Mont Saint-Michel in France and the Pyrenees mountain range before ending at Santiago de Compostela on Spain's west coast.
Mr Bagge wanted to raise money for unpaid carers across Norfolk, who range from young children to the elderly and who look after loved ones and go unrecognised.
He hopes to raise £60,000 which will be donated to various carers' groups by the Norfolk Community Foundation.
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Mr Bagge, who focused on Norfolk volunteers for his year as High Sheriff, said: 'The volunteers have inspired my decision to embark on this challenge.
'Unpaid carers are giving their time in a very loving way and are wholly unrecognised. They are on their own.
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'The walk is a huge responsibilty on my shoulders. I'm nervous but hugely encouraged by the support so far. I'm determined.'
He hopes to walk between 15 and 20 miles a day and will blog about his journey.
Terry Macrowan, manager of Great Yarmouth and Gorleston Young Carers' Project (GYGYC), said: 'Unpaid carers are still hidden.'
She added Mr Bagge's walk would highlight their important role in society.
GYGYC provides respite for 150 children and young adults aged eight to 25.
There are estimated to be more than 94,000 people in Norfolk providing unpaid care which saves local authority and NHS services an estimated £1.6bn per year.
Ricky Buckland, 23, from Gorleston, who has cared for his 48-year-old mother who has diabetes for 12 years, said the GYGYC gave young carers the chance to be themselves and get support.
Claire Cullens, Norfolk Community Foundation chief executive, said: 'Carers are often unsung heroes, providing 24/7 support with little outside help or respite, and in some cases jeopardising their own health and wellbeing to do so.'
Visit www.walking4norfolk.com to follow Mr Bagge's progress and visit http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fund/walking4norfolk to donate.