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Town's top officer joins fostering Coast to Coast walk

Middlesbrough Council's top officer is donning his walking boots to take part in a marathon fund-raiser in aid of foster care.

Chief Executive Tony Parkinson will join an intrepid team as they undertake the gruelling Coast to Coast challenge.

The group’s 11-day odyssey begins at St Bees in Cumbria on Friday, June 23, before reaching Robin Hood’s Bay on Monday, July 3.

Their 187-mile trek takes in some of UK’s most scenic terrain along the tracks, trails and mountain paths of the Lake District, Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors.

The walk - led by Brian Foulger of Middlesbrough Council’s Family Placement Team - is a joint initiative by Tees Valley Fostering to raise awareness of the need to recruit new foster carers across the five boroughs that make up the Tees Valley.

And on Saturday, July 1 Tony Parkinson will join the team as they host a 10-mile sponsored walk from Clay Bank to the Lion Inn at Blakey Ridge, with foster carers, children, elected members and staff from across the Tees Valley helping to raise funds for various charities and generate publicity.

Tony said: “When I attended last year’s Middlesbrough Looked After Children Awards night, I had the opportunity to speak first hand with many foster carers and children.

“It opened my eyes to the amazing job our foster carers do, and the massive difference they make to so many children’s lives.

“This walk will help to raise the profile of fostering as we all desperately need dedicated, caring people with the time and space to look after some of our most vulnerable children.”

Brian Foulger said: “It will be fantastic to be joined along the way by people like Tony who really understand fostering and its ability to transform young lives forever, and give young people the security and family support they need in life.

“The Coast to Coast walk is our way of spreading the word about the difference fostering can make for all involved, and I hope it will encourage more people to come forward and find out more.”

Throughout the walk the team will be wearing specially made white shirts bearing the logos of their sponsors Everyone Active, Tesco (Coulby Newham) and Askham Bryan College and Persimmon Homes.

To find out more about the Coast to Coast walk in aid of Tees Valley Fostering, contact  Brian at brian_foulger@middlesbrough.gov.uk or call 01642 201970. For more information on fostering in Middlesbrough visit http://www.middlesbrough.gov.uk/fostering