Good Causes

Mindfulness trail aims to put walkers on a calmer path

Stephen Fry describes it as “a simple and wonderful idea”. He’s referring to a 1.5-mile mindfulness trail in the Norfolk Broads which begins and ends with a recording of Fry’s voice urging visitors to relax, enjoy their surroundings and look after their mental health.

The circular trail in Salhouse Broad was created by Sibling Support, a project that helps young people who have lost a brother or sister. It was founded by Callum Fairhurst, a 26-year-old TV journalist who lost his older brother Liam in 2009.

Callum remembers every detail of that awful day in June when Liam, 14, succumbed to lung cancer at the family home in Cambridgeshire. In particular, he remembers the sound of Liam’s nurses coming downstairs, the looks on their faces and the realisation it was time to say goodbye to his sibling.

Callum said, “I kissed him and told him I would live a great life and try to help other people. To lose someone you’re supposed to spend the majority of your life with is truly awful.

“I had moments when I was really struggling. There was the moment I realised I was officially older than Liam and it didn’t feel right. And when I went to the sixth form I cried so much because it was a life moment I always expected him to reach before me.”

Honouring his pledge to help others, Callum set up Sibling Support. Rather than duplicating the counselling and phone helplines already offered by other organisations, the project offers informal support – for example, information packs full of advice, tips and coping mechanisms. Last year, it also briefed more than 500 medical professionals on ways to help young people deal with the loss of a sibling.

Its latest project is the mindfulness trail which was developed with the help of National Lottery funding. It has already been visited by more than 3000 people since opening in July, 2023.

Callum said, “The funding was instrumental in getting us off the ground. We can’t thank The National Lottery and its players enough for allowing this to happen. It’s making such a difference to the lives of not just bereaved siblings, but other people who are trying to have a mindful moment in the Norfolk Broads.”

Stephen Fry said he was delighted to be part of the project. He added, “I really hope people will really get something out of taking this walk. But I have a confession to make: I got a great deal out of it myself just saying the words and imagining the hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people who might find in it some kind of solace and balm for hurt, anxious or sorrowful minds.”

You can hear some of Stephen Fry’s audio recordings for the mindfulness trail in the video below.

25th September 2023

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