A charity walk has raised over £800 to ease the plight of a cat welfare charity on the Greek island of Skiathos.

Helen Bennett, Becky Clarke and Cara Callingham walked 22 miles from the Cat and Fiddle, in Cheshire, to Ilam, Derbyshire, in support of the Skiathos Cat Welfare Association, a Greek charity looking after the needs of the island’s cats and who are currently seeking a new home in which to continue their valuable work.

As they began their trek at 7.15 am the Peak District threw everything its February weather had to offer at the girls, wind, rain, hail and snow, making it particularly tricky under foot.

Coming down off the higher ground the girls picked up the course of the River Dove as it heads towards Crowdecote and Pilsbury. After 10 miles the weather abated and conditions were dry as they arrived in Hartington (13 miles) just after midday. Here they were met by family supporters.

The group headed towards Beresford Dale to rejoin the River Dove and follow the river through Wolfescote Dale and into Milldale,17 miles and seven hours into their walk.

Becky was unable to continue beyond this point but Helen and Cara continued into Dovedale, one of Derbyshire’s most popular beauty spots.

At 20.5 miles Helen and Cara reached the iconic Dovedale stepping stones. They then continued to the road and the final mile towards the finish on the steps of the National Trust’s Ilam Hall. Despite the aches and blisters, Helen and Cara found a final burst of energy to sprint the final fifty yards to their goal, after almost nine hours, and the chance to take the load off their feet.

As family gathered round to applaud their efforts, the girls looked relieved and took the opportunity for a selfie.

The walk from Cat and Fiddle to Ilam has raised £833 for the Skiathos Cat Welfare Association as they need to relocate the charity and its cats to a suitable area in Skiathos, which is safe and secure.

Sharon Hewing began to help the island’s stray cat population in 2005 founding the SCWA two years later. Sharon cares for many of the cats with disabilities, including blindness, that would not survive on the streets.

With the cat population soaring, neutering is the charity’s number one priority. Through the summer season many visitors to Skiathos volunteer to help with the day-to-day running of the charity and vets donate their services to neuter as many cats as possible. Since 2005 over 5000 cats have been neutered saving many more unwanted kittens from being born into a life of hardship. In 2017 alone over 600 cats were neutered. Around the island volunteers also feed in excess of 300 cats, a huge amount of food which takes up the majority of the charity’s regular donations.

The charity’s current home is being sold and relocating will take a huge amount of funds, funds which sadly the SCWA does not have. They hope soon to be able to raise the profile of the charity and encourage large scale donations to move forward to a secure future for the stray cats.

Please follow the link https://www.youcaring.com/skiathoscatwelfareassociation-1022903 if you should wish to donate to help the plight of the SCWA and the cats of Skiathos.