Behind-the-scenes of the Great Big WalkLast weekend the Great Big Walk culminated with the five teams of walkers reaching their own communities for their own Big Lunch. Limelight Sports played an important role in the office and out on the road helping to make it happen and keep everyone safe. We spoke to three Limelighters to get their unique perspective on that it was like to work on this exciting project.
Josh Burrows (JB) – Cornwall Route Manger
Kiki Tjia (KT) – Northern Irelands Route Lead
Roshni Walsh (RW) – Event Executive
What part did you play on the Great Big Walk?
JB – My role entailed planning the route from Batley to Cornwall. We gathered Information on potential stops within the local communities that we would visit on our journey. Each route manager, for the 5 different routes, would search endlessly for information on scenic walking routes and paths to provide our walkers and support team with the best experience possible.
KT - I was the Route Manager for the Northern Ireland route. I was responsible for the walkers’ health and welfare, including troubleshooting any on the ground issues with regards to the route, community stops, vehicles and accommodation. I was also the conduit between Limelight Sports head office, Event Control and the Eden Project staff working on this route.
RW - My role entailed co-ordinating all the partner activities and particularly their branding: from the Renault Electric vehicles to the environmentally friendly drink bottles, tear drop flags and the walkers’ kit.
What was the most challenging thing about this project for you?
JB - Planning the route from the office was really tough as we had to rely on satellite maps, walking forums and ‘the famous yellow man’ from Google Streetview. But we also had a trusted and reliable support team who were able to react to changes on route and check out walking paths. There were a few challenges and dead ends on the way, but the local knowledge of our very experienced walkers played a massive part in the success of the Great Big Walk.
KT - Working (and being on call) for up to 16 hours per day for most of the 21-day duration of the project and managing the support team whilst on the road walking.
RW - Having only been in the country for less that 2 weeks and having absolutely no idea how to pronounce any of the destinations names, especially when it came to Wales!
We also had tight time-lines to coordinate the branded elements but our Limelight supplier relationships helped, and their belief in the values of the Eden Project meant they were happy to go above and beyond to meet our deadlines.
What was your experience of working as part of a big team to make the Great Big Walk a success?
JB - It has been an absolute pleasure to work with the Eden Project. They really do walk and breath their values. Very inspiring to see! The feedback and support that myself and the team have received has been wonderful. You really get the feeling of how we have brought communities together and the impact the Great Big Walk has had on the UK.
KT - I had a very positive experience with everyone I had interactions with. I believe that we worked well with Eden Project team particularly with the NI country manager. In addition, all the community stops we visited were all prepared for us and very accommodating and welcoming.
RW - The Eden team were a pleasure to work with. They understand the importance of working together as one big team as well as keeping it light-hearted and always being able to laugh at ourselves along the way! Looking forward to the after party next week!
What was your highlight of the 3 weeks?
JB - My highlight would have to be the team arriving safely to The Big Lunch at The Eden Project and receiving an unbelievable welcome. I also had an opportunity to experience a community stop when the team heading towards London and stopped off at a local Mosque for an evening Iftar. It was an experience I will never forget. We were welcomed with open arms and joined the Muslim community in their breaking off fast. I met with people from different races, religions and backgrounds coming together and shared stories with one another.
KT – I had several including climbing to the peak of Slieve Donard, the highest peak in Ulster with Noel; rowing and having a Big Lunch on Olivia's (NI walker) boat that she built; singing "You’ll never walk alone" at the Bebington Road Allotments in Liverpool; and the positive feedback and interaction with all the members of the National Lottery senior management including Joanne for the Armagh Men Shed visit and Julie Harrison, chair of the Big Lottery NI, who attended the final Big Lunch.
RW – So many but I had two favourites. The first was meeting up with the London team to attend the Big Iftar at the Southwark Cathedral. During this particularly tough time in London it felt so relevant and important to bring all communities together and really stop, reflect and enjoy the incredibly selfless work that people are doing every day for others. My other highlight was meeting up with the Cornwall team on their last day at the Eden Project in Cornwall. Walkers Jude and Jane were buzzing at the thought of only being a few miles away from their very own home town Big Lunches. I spent the day exploring the two biomes full of diverse climates and environments at the Eden Project and even managed to fly on England's longest and fastest zip wire over the site!
What does the Great Big Walk and Big Get Together mean to you?
JB - It has been an amazing project to be a part of with still so much potential. More recently, saddened by the tragedies within the news, the Great Big Walk and Big Get Together has shown great unity and had really emphasized the importance of coming together and what being a part of a community is really about.
KT - The Great Big Walk provided the opportunity for the walkers to visit amazing community projects and shine a light on all the work that they do, whether it be chatting about the project at the next community stop, or through social media, newspapers, radio and TV. The Big Get Together celebrates communities coming together, no matter what gender, age, religion or background, by simply inviting neighbours around for dinner or organising large street parties for the entire community.
RW - My family have been part of a small community in New Zealand for the past 40+ years and as a family we are very active in local community events. I genuinely understand the importance of having this support around you every day in your very own neighbourhood and that is what I look forward to every time that I venture home. To me, the Great Big Walk provides an opportunity to help millions of other people to strengthen their own sense of belonging within their communities, all looking out for one another and building valuable, lifelong connections.