Regulars and friends of a group of Stockport pubs have helped raise a staggering £110,000 fund research into a rare genetic disorder affecting just one in 20,000 children born in the UK.
The One Small Step Pub Walk has been staged every year since little Bella Williams was diagnosed with Prader-Willi Syndrome when she was two weeks old.
Bella’s mother Vicki runs the award winning hospitality group Almond Family Pubs with her father Doug Almond and brother James.
Prader-Willi Syndrome, which causes eating disorders and learning difficulties, has no cure at present and can affect girls and boys alike. The Foundation for Prader-Willi Research is seeking to discover effective treatments that can enable people with the condition to lead happy and independent lives and, eventually, a cure for PWS.
The Almond family and their army of regulars at their six pubs – the Fletchers Arms in Denton, Puss in Boots in Offerton, Three Bears in Hazel Grove, Hesketh in Cheadle Hulme, Spread Eagle in Romiley and the newly “rescued” Jolly Sailor in Davenport – have been supporting the charity since Bella was diagnosed.
The latest pub walk saw the 14-mile route from the Fletchers to the Hesketh, with pit stops along the way at all the other pubs in the group, awash with blue-clad walkers with a record 360 sponsored fundraisers taking part.
Vicki, who also has a younger daughter Libbi with her husband Liam, said: “We run this event every year to celebrate Bella’s birthday and over the six years we have been organising it we have seen it grow in to the huge event it is today.
“This year we saw a record 360 walkers and we have managed to raise an incredible £10,000. This brings the total fundraising for charity in Bella’s name to over £110,000, which we are immensely proud of.”
She added: “Bella was over the moon to share this day with her friend Will Murphey, who also has Prader-Willi Syndrome. While Bella is only able to walk a few hundred metres at the moment, she is hoping to build up the muscle strength to walk the entire route as Will has done for the last three years.”
Each of the walkers paid a £15 participation fee covering the cost of their distinctive blue One Small Step tee-shirt and refreshments at the pit stops with £10 going directly towards the charity. More money is raised through sponsorship via the Just Giving website.
A finish line celebration and fund raising party was staged at the Hesketh in Cheadle Hulme to greet the walkers, featuring craft market, bouncy castle, charity stalls and a raffle.