The family who hiked to give hope!

When Emily Martin joined us as Head of Finance during the 2020 lockdown, she probably expected her time supporting the charity would be spent organising bills rather than climbing hills. But, after becoming part of the family here at Children North East and seeing our work first hand, she signed herself, her husband and her two sons up for our Hadrian’s Wall fundraising walk.

Taking on the challenge of trekking 130 kilometres over the summer of 2021 is no mean feat, but it’s even more impressive when you’re aged 9 and 11. However, her boys were fearless, even when faced with a final 55km hike over three days along the actual Hadrian’s Wall.

Emily says, “I’m so proud of the boys, they embraced the whole challenge. We had many laughs and made some amazing memories along the way. We took on big distances but seeing their perseverance kept Joward and myself going. We also have to say a huge thank you to the friends and family who joined us for parts of the walk.”

The family walked the full 130km over eight legs, which took in the beautiful landscapes of Northumberland and Cumbria.

“The boys are too young to understand fully the specialist work that Children North East do but we’ve talked about the fact that some young people don’t have the same experiences and opportunities as others and they were keen to do something that could help.”

Emily and her family raised an incredible £2,000 thanks to support from friends, family and Joward’s employer Bellway Homes, who match funded their efforts with a £1,000 donation, as part of their employee fundraising pledge.

“We have been really blown away by the generosity of the people who sponsored us. I think one reason is that the mission of Children North East is something anyone can get on board with. Everyone deserves a childhood that is safe, healthy and happy, and which doesn’t limit their opportunities in later life. This money will fund services that help make that possible.”

We couldn’t tell you the Martin’s story without sharing a few of the hits, dedicated by their supporters, on their hiking playlist, which included the very fitting tunes ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ by Queen, ‘One Step Beyond’ from Madness and The Proclaimers’ track ‘500 Miles’. If you’re hinting your next challenge will be 500 miles Emily, we’ll be cheering you on! There is still time to donate to Emily’s fundraiser on the Give Penny site.

Have you been inspired by Emily’s story? As we look forward to Christmas, the future is not so bright for many children in the #NorthEast. Give a child a life-changing gift this Christmas by fundraising for or making a donation to our #Hope4Xmas campaign. Your donations will support babies, children, young people and their families through the most difficult circumstances, helping us to deliver help when it is needed most. Learn how you can get involved on our Hope for Chrismas webpage or by contacting the team at