Date: 
Saturday, June 17, 2017 - 18:00

The Eden Project today (June 17) welcomed home Cornwall’s participants in The Great Big Walk as they near the end of their epic trek.

Judy Thorn and Jane Knight make up one of five teams who set off on foot from Batley, West Yorkshire, on May 29, to connect people and celebrate communities.

All the walkers are travelling home to their communities in Cornwall, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and London in time to celebrate The Big Lunch tomorrow (Sunday, June 18) as the highlight of the Great Get Together taking place across the UK this weekend, inspired by the late MP Jo Cox.

Eden colleagues Jane and Judy walked into the project today (June 17) to be greeted by family, friends and colleagues celebrating their marathon trek.

Judy, a visitor experience manager and Jane, a landscape architect, are keen walkers and have been covering up to 22 miles on foot each day.

Judy, from St Columb Major, said: “Over the last three weeks we have been talking a lot about what communities across the country have been doing and today I have finally been left speechless by the reception we have received from our own community.

“Life will not be the same for me anymore. Before doing The Great Big Walk I didn’t really understand the depths of community and people’s energy and dedication to what they’re doing. Now I want to tell their stories and make a bigger impact on my community.”

Jane, from Charlestown, said: “We have been overwhelmed by the number of people who are doing these amazing things in their communities and truly making a difference. Their energy and positivity has certainly fuelled our journey and inspired us.

“Community spirit has never felt more important and we have found it everywhere we have been.”

Along their journey Judy and Jane visited a host of community projects and charities and were joined by other walkers wanting to share what they are doing for their communities.

The last major stop on their journey back to Cornwall came in Bodmin this morning (Saturday) when the team was met by community champions including John Lakey of Cultivate Cornwall CIC who was inspired by working with The Big Lunch Extras programme last year.

Peter Stewart, Eden Project Executive Director, who welcomed back the two women and their support team, said: “When we started out on The Great Big Walk on May 29 it was a week to the day after the Manchester bombing. We live in a time when there is so much shocking news, the importance of strong communities is even more poignant.

“The Great Big Walk, supported by the National Lottery, shines a light on all the great things that are happening in communities. It has been an incredibly emotional journey and Jane and Judy have been fantastic ambassadors for Eden, The Great Big Walk, The Big Lunch and The Great Get Together.”

Edward Benthall, Chairman of the Eden Trust, said: “It is wonderful to welcome all the walkers home after all that they have achieved on The Great Big Walk.

“What puts a lump in my throat is that when we conceived this idea a year ago it seemed a really important, symbolic way of linking together our increasingly fractured society. Today that seems even more important.”

Jane and Judy will now head back to their homes in Charlestown and St Columb Major in time sit down with their neighbours for Big Lunches tomorrow (June 18).

Other Big Lunches include an event in Priory Park, Bodmin, organised by John Lakey which includes free freshly-cooked Thai food and an eight-piece ska band.  As many as 500 people are expected.

For more information on The Great Big Walk go to www.edenproject.com

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