Chris Howard is a dad of three from Cambridge and during the first lockdown, he decided to walk the entire coast of Britain in aid of Children in Need. birkenhead.news spoke to him on his leg between New Brighton and Woodside, Birkenhead, “I’m heading clockwise from North Norfolk so really I just have to keep the sea on my left.”, he said.
“I have three amazing children of my own and I want to inspire them and others to always push their limits and help others. I’ve chosen Children in need because they support so many children and young people organisations reaching every corner of the UK.”, Chris explained.
Chris started his coastal walk from Norfolk in May 2020 and has made his way clockwise around the coast and reached Wirral earlier this week. He walks about 30 miles each day and only sees his family every 10 weeks. He walked the South-West coast of Wirral from Chester through Thurstaston to West Kirby, taking in the “beautiful scenery” along the way. It was at West Kirby that he bumped into Martin Freeman who was taking part in filming in the area.
“I really liked all of that coastline, it was really interesting, there’s so much variety from boggy marshland to tracks like the Wirral Way to fields and then you end up in a lot of reeds and there’s a lot of different birdlife to spot along the way”, he said of the Welsh facing coastline.
“Wirral is really good for coastal walks because you can really hug the coastline all the way around, unlike some parts of the British coast.” Chris said. “I’ve never been to Wirral, but the thing that surprised me the most is that I’ve managed to cover a lot of miles in a short space of time. I’m very used to walking but it (the Wirral Circular Trail) is so well laid out and marked that anyone could do it.”
“I read about Hilbre Island and the seals, but I just didn’t have time to make a detour.” Chris said ruefully. He headed from West Kirby, through Hoylake, Meols and past Leasowe Lighthouse on his way to New Brighton.
“New Brighton really creeps up on you as you’re walking along, because as it curves around it just appears from nowhere! You’re concentrating on looking out to sea or the other side of the river. And then you’ve got this cool lighthouse and immediately after you see that, you see the fort! The last time I saw a for like that on the coastal walk was probably in north Kent!”, Chris said.
Heading from New Brighton, through Wallasey and Seacombe on the way to Birkenhead, the landscape changes from rural to urban and industrial – and it was at Birkenhead that we met Chris whilst watching the dazzle ferry arrive at Woodside.
Chris is taking a little break from walking when he hits Liverpool and plans to take a trip on the Mersey Ferry before heading up the coast through Crosby and Formby on his way to Southport and beyond. He is currently 4,500 miles into an 11,000-mile walk. “Ideally, I’d like to finish the walk by the end of this year.” Chris said, “and if I could do it by mid-November that’d be really good because that ties in with when Children in Need is happening.”
BBC Children in Need survey reveals impact of the pandemic on children and young people’s mental health
Children and young people across the UK are facing short, medium and long-term impacts on their mental health and emotional wellbeing, as a result of the pandemic. To coincide with Mental Health Awareness Week, a Censuswide survey on behalf of BBC Children in Need has found that more than two-thirds of children and young people (68%) aged 11-18 believe that young people’s mental health in general has got worse as a result of the pandemic, with one in three (34%) not feeling comfortable to ask for help if they needed it .
The UK wide survey of 1,012 parents and 1,000 children and young people aged 11-18, reveals that:
- More than two-thirds (68%) of the children and young people surveyed believe that young people’s mental health in general has got worse as a result of the pandemic, with 1 in 4 (25%) describing it as ‘much worse’
- 1 in 3 children and young people (34%) would not feel comfortable asking for support if they felt they needed help with their mental health
- More than one-third (39%) of parents said that their child’s mood and behaviour had changed for the worse since the beginning of the pandemic and more than two-thirds (67%) said this was the first time they had noticed any changes with their child’s mental health
- Just under one-third of parents (32%) surveyed said that their child’s worries or anxieties had often affected their mood or behaviour, since the first national lockdown
- The survey also found that children and young people would feel most comfortable speaking to a parent or carer (49%), friends (15%) or other relatives (9%) about their mental health, suggesting that they are most likely to open up to someone close to them. Nearly half (49%) of the children and young people surveyed had spoken about their mental health with a family member, close friend or trusted adult during the pandemic
The online survey of 1,012 parents with children aged 11-18 years old and 1,000 children aged 11-18 years old were carried out by Censuswide on behalf of BBC Children in Need, to explore the impact of the pandemic on children’s mental health.