Judy and Jane return home for the Big Lunch after their Great Big Walk
Two women who have walked home to Cornwall from Batley in West Yorkshire for the Great Big Walk were welcomed back into their communities with Big Lunches this afternoon (Sunday June 18).
Judy Thorn and Jane Knight, both of whom work at the Eden Project, made up one of five teams who set off on foot from Batley on May 29 to connect people and celebrate communities.
Each group returned home in time to take part in Big Lunches in their community. Both Judy and Jane celebrated with friends and well-wishers in Jane's home village of Charlestown, near St Austell, before moving on to Judy's home town of St Columb Major. Other groups have walked home to Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and London.
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 yesterday 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.
The Big Lunch, which encourages people to sit down and eat lunch with their neighbours, is taking place across the UK today as the highlight of the Great Get Together, inspired by the late MP Jo Cox.
Jane said: "It's really lovely to get such a nice welcome back to our home towns. It has been the most extraordinary journey, a hugely humbling experience and a real privilege to get an insight into the backbone of this country.
“Along the way we have met all kinds of inspirational people and their positive energy has fuelled us. It's lovely to come back home and see that spirit being reflected here as well.
"The Big Lunch was set up to make communities more resilient and I think that it has never been more relevant. What we have found is that community spirit is alive and well up and down the country."
Judy said: "This is a beautiful welcome home. It feels incredible to be home although it's quite overwhelming.
“We have seen so much positivity and hope on our walk, it's all around us all the time. There is more good news and positivity out there than there is bad news.
"In organising my home Big Lunch, I've met people in my community that I haven't met before and I look forward to meeting more new people and helping make a difference.”
Other Big Lunches taking place across a bright and sunny South West include one in Victoria Park in Buckfastleigh, near Newton Abbott in Devon.
Andy Stokes, who co-organises the lunch with Liz Parker, said that around 200 people turned up for their Big Lunch this afternoon.
He said: "It's just fantastic, we've had wonderful musicians, kids playing in the park, face-painting, craft activities and loads of people have turned up. We weren't expecting the weather to be so good! The Big Lunch just gets everyone together and we've had a wonderful atmosphere here. It absolutely brings out the best in people."