THE Woking-based breast cancer charity Walk the Walk is celebrating another memorable year, with its website recording donations of more than £4.9 million.

From a one-woman band in 1996, it has grown into the UK’s largest grant-making breast cancer charity, which has now raised some £133 million in total.

An action-packed programme burst into life in March, when an intrepid group took on Walk the Walk’s Arctic Challenge, backcountry skiing through Abisko National Park in the most northern part of the Swedish sub-Arctic.

Sarah Gill, 53, from Knaphill, completed the challenge with a 19-strong team from the charity. They stayed overnight in mountain huts with no electricity as temperatures fell to -28C.

Sarah said: “I’d never been on skis in my life, so that was a challenge in itself. Training involved lots of walking, cross-trainer practice and swimming to get fit.  I also went to the Milton Keynes Snozone to gain a basic skiing certificate, and to Inverness to learn how to backcountry ski.

“The most amazing moment was crossing the finish line on the Sunday afternoon, cheered in by everyone. There were tears and hugs all round. It was the most exhilarating experience I have ever had. I would do it all again tomorrow.”

Thousands wore disco-themed bras as they took part in the 22nd MoonWalk London in May. Many of the capital’s famous landmarks, including Battersea Power Station, the Coca-Cola London Eye and the IMAX cinema lit up in pink to honour those taking part, with ages ranging from 13 to 84.

Woking walkers Anita Allard, Michelle Martin and Eira Meller enjoyed every second of it.

 “The crowds are fantastic, cars tooting their support, and the volunteers along the route are so supportive,” Eira said, summing up the mood.

A team of 18 took on the Nijmegen Marches in the Netherlands in July.  Starting and finishing in Nijmegen for four consecutive days, challengers walked a grand total of around 100 miles.

On the final day, the team reached the Via Gladiola, where thousands of supporters had come out to applaud them and hand out gladioli, which is a traditional gesture of saying “well done”.

October was Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and Walk the Walk’s supporters got behind the charity’s first “Rock Your T” Day. Men, women and young people up and down the country proudly wore their Walk the Walk bra T-shirts to work, college and on the school run, raising awareness of the charity.

Later in the month, specially-created bras were showcased for one night only at Walking Works of Art at the V&A Museum in London. A selection of incredible bras worn by models graced the catwalk and included creations by some of the UK’s most renowned designers, including Dame Zandra Rhodes, Julien Macdonald, Bruce Oldfield, Jeff Banks, Jimmy Choo and Lindy Hemming. The event was hosted by TV and radio presenter Gaby Roslin.

Overseas, a team of 16 spirited individuals completed the Journey to the Edge of the World, a 71-mile challenge from Santiago to Finisterre through ever-changing Spanish countryside.

Walk the Walk’s founder, Nina Barough, took a bite out of the Big Apple as she completed her 20th New York City Marathon with a team of 10 in November. She first walked the New York Marathon in a bra in 1996 with a group of 13 friends, raising £25,000 for breast cancer research.

Also in November, six men who have been diagnosed with breast cancer gathered to launch a national awareness campaign, encouraging companies and individuals to download a Check Your Chest poster created by Walk the Walk.

Completing the year in style, Walk the Walk featured on ITV as part of Pride of Britain: Celebrating 20 Years. Carol Vorderman interviewed Nina about how far the charity has come since she won her Pride of Britain Award for Fundraiser of the Year in 2008.

Special mention too goes to Waitrose in West Byfleet, who donated £490 to Walk the Walk. The money was raised through the Waitrose Community Matters green token scheme for customers, and the donation went towards the maintenance of the Walk the Walk Cold Cap at Ashford and St.Peter’s Hospital.

The Cold Cap, also known as a scalp cooler, is used to help patients undergoing certain types of chemotherapy to retain their hair.

For more information on Walk the Walk or to sign up for one of its events, please visit

For the full story get the 2 January edition of the News & Mail