Alison pounds the pavements in memory of her brother Gareth

In April 2011 local man Gareth Crockett was in the middle of a fundraising challenge, completing four marathons and 500 miles of cycling in eight days from his home in Moira to London, when he sadly lost his life.

Wednesday, 14th April 2021, 11:45 am
Alison out walking with Blake and Sophia
Alison out walking with Blake and Sophia

The challenge was due to finish with the London Marathon to raise money in memory of a childhood friend John Erwin who died 11 months before of Leukaemia.

When cycling in Wales, Gareth, a former student at Wallace High School, was tragically hit by a car and killed.

Now, 10 years later, his sister Alison has picked up the fundraising baton and is walking six miles every day in April to raise money for Air Ambulance NI which is based at the Maze.

Gareth Crockett

“Ten years on I wanted to do something in memory of Gareth,” explained Alison.

“I am not as athletic as he was and have two children under two years of age, so I plan to walk 10km/six miles every day in April along with my babies, double pram and all, and hope to raise a few pounds along the way for Air Ambulance NI.

“I am off on maternity leave at the minute and just before I had my baby I thought I wanted to do something.

“I definitely couldn’t run so I thought I would try walking and I thought that six miles was enough for me.”

Sophia is supporting her mum's fundraising efforts

Setting out with the double buggy each morning, Alison plans to walk almost 200 miles during the month of April, clocking in over six miles a day. With the challenge now halfway through, she has been finding it is getting easier as she gets used to the exercise.

“It is getting easier as time goes on,” she continued. “The first day I had a massive blister on my foot but this week hasn’t been too bad. I’ve been getting up early and going out to get it over with. At first I didn’t know how I was going to do it but it has been fun.”

Alison is shocked at the support she has received, already surpassing her official goal of £500, and her secret wish to raise £1000, and now she is sitting at £3,604, with many walks still ahead of her.

“I had hoped to maybe raise a thousand pounds,” admitted Alison, “but I wanted to exceed that. I can’t believe how supportive people have been.

“I want to thank my family, friends, and everyone who has supported me and made a donation.”

Alison decided to raise money for the Air Ambulance after talking with her parents. “Mum and dad wanted to do something as well to raise money but with the pandemic restrictions they weren’t able to get out,” explained Alison.

“They suggested supporting the Air Ambulance and I know they need as much support as possible.

“The Air Ambulance is a very worthy cause. You hope you will never need it but you just never know.”

Thanking Alsion for her fundraising effort, Kerry Anderson, Head of Fundraising at the Air Ambulance NI, said: “We are so humbled that Alison has chosen to fundraise for Air Ambulance NI in memory of her brother, Gareth.

“Alison has set a big challenge for herself but her determination is truly inspiring.

“We’re also extremely grateful for the generosity we are seeing from the local community who are supporting Alison’s fundraiser.

“As a service we rely heavily on charitable donations to keep the medical team in the air, delivering critical care to patients who have suffered trauma throughout Northern Ireland- without this type of support, the team simply couldn’t fly.

“The past year has been especially challenging for fundraising and we’ve seen a dramatic downturn in our income. Every single penny counts. We want to say a huge thank you to Alison and everyone who has donated towards her challenge.”

If you would like to make a donation towards Alison’s fundraising, visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/rememberinggarethcrockett10yearson

To find out more about the Air Ambulance and how you can support the local charity, visit https://airambulanceni.org/.