Hike into the Light 2024

9 July 2024

‘It was full of hope’: Walkers ‘hike into the light’ in memory of loved ones who took their own lives

The Headlight Project’s annual ‘Hike into the Light’ fundraising event was held on July 5th alongside Teesside Charity, who were raising funds for local mental health charities.

40 fundraisers walked a 10-mile circular route through the night, starting and finishing at Cod Beck – many walking in memory of a loved one who’d tragically taken their own life.

“As always, it was an incredibly emotional night but also one full of hope,” said Anne Cullum, CEO.

“To hear everyone’s own stories and experiences of suicide is a deeply moving and profound experience. I think a lot of people who take part gain an enormous amount in knowing that others have walked in their shoes and that they are not alone.

“The event is designed to raise awareness of the suicide problem across the Tees Valley, and also raise much-needed funds to help combat it. But it is also about bringing people together and to reinforce the message that even when we walk through the darkest hours, we can still find light at the end.”

Walkers embarked on a route consisting of pine forests, ancient trails and a section of the historic Cleveland Way.

They were led by Phil Lee and his team from Overlimits. The funds raised will go toward much-needed therapy for those across the Tees Valley, as well as preventative education and training in the area.

Figures published at the end of 2023 by the Office of National Statistics showed that there were 5,579 deaths by suicide in England last year and the North East’s suicide rate was amongst the highest, almost twice as high as the figure for London.

As such, the charity’s CEO, Anne Cullum urged as many people as possible to support the charity, which she says plays a vital part in tackling what has long been a big problem.

“The heartbreaking reality is that too many people we know and love across Teesside are dying by suicide,” she added.

“That’s why this event is so important for our work at The Headlight Project, and this money will help to fund hundreds of vital counselling sessions for people, including children, who have lost a loved one to suicide.

One of the Headlight hikers, Nicola Cunningham thanked everyone who had supported her on her challenging Hike into the Light.

“Such a beautiful night. Suffering now with aches and pains but it is nothing to what my daughter, Beth, suffered so I will accept it and take a little bit of that pain, which she was carrying daily.

Thank you for the opportunity to walk from the darkness into the light. There is light when it gets dark, it just takes time and a hard slog, but you will get through the other side.”

Headlight Project Volunteer, Chris Wilson, said “It was a pleasure to represent the Headlight Project at the Hike into the Light. The Project have been an enormous support for me since losing my wife to suicide and I am pleased to be able to give something back and help promote the Project in their quest to reduce suicide. I think the hike is a strong visual reminder that light always follows the dark. It was uplifting to be with so many people, many of whom had experienced tragic loss, all coming together to reinforce that message.”

For more information about other ways to get involved in future events, please visit our events page.


Need Support?

We provide counselling and therapeutic support to both adults and children bereaved by suicide in the Tees Valley. Visit our Get Support section for all enquiries for support, referrals and helpful resources.

Get Support

Read some stories of how we’ve helped people across the Tees Valley.

Read our stories

Keep up to date

Subscribe for the latest newsletter updates.