A staggering £16,200 has been raised to date for Walesby Forest – an internationally acclaimed outdoor activity centre located in the heart of Sherwood Forest – which will enable the independent charity to continue running following a very challenging year.
78-year-old David Huxley, president of the board of trustees at Walesby Forest, walked 108 miles along the Robin Hood Way to raise much-needed funds for the centre, as well as personally celebrate 70 years since he first visited the site as a wolf cub with Scouts.
Located in Walesby, north Nottinghamshire, the 250-acre outdoor activity centre and campsite was established in 1938. The activity centre usually hosts up to 50,000 visitors per year and was hard hit by the pandemic, experiencing a 90% revenue drop in 2020 and a further 50% decrease forecasted for this year.
David said: “I’m absolutely blown away by the generosity of everyone who donated; £16,200 is a fantastic sum that will make a real difference to Walesby Forest.
“I first visited the site in 1951 and I remember it vividly – even after all these years – so it was great to combine the celebration with raising vital funds to ensure the centre remains open for next generation to enjoy the same fantastic experience I did. The walk was certainly a challenge, but many people volunteered to walk with me for parts of the journey to keep me company and it was an unforgettable experience.”
David set off from Nottingham Castle on Monday 17 May, with the route weaving through Watnall, Blidworth, Farnsfield, Eakring, Creswell Crags and many more Nottinghamshire villages and towns across an eight-day period, concluding at the Walesby Forest site on Monday 24 May.
Guy Laurie, chief executive at Walesby Forest, said: “We’re incredibly proud of David – the fantastic sum he has raised for the centre as well as completing 108 miles in just over a week – no easy feat for anyone – is truly impressive.
“I’d also like to thank everyone who donated to Walk for Walesby as your contribution will make a huge difference to the survival of the centre.
“In pre-coronavirus times we welcomed more than 50,000 visitors per year including Scouts and Guides, schools, youth groups, corporate events, and the local community. We host school holiday camps, festivals, bonfire night events and much more so the scale of everything we offer – and are trying to preserve – is huge. We’re therefore very hopeful for the future and look forward to welcoming open young people and the local community for the next 80 years.”