Posted: 15 February 2014

Walking from France and running in Berlin

Twenty years ago this Wednesday, 118 people made history by walking the length of the Channel Tunnel. In an event dubbed 'Le Walk', participants strode 31 miles through the tunnel, beginning near Calais, France and emerging more than 12 hours later in Folkestone.

It was an event that took place less than three months before the Channel Tunnel officially opened for train travel on 6 May 1994. We partnered with the Daily Mail and other charities to raise funds for the event. In total, we raised more than £2 million.

We've compiled a handful of photos from the day - which are embedded below. 

If you're looking for an international activity to help raise funds for our work, consider this year's Berlin marathon. It's one of the most iconic runs in Europe. Find out more.

Le Walk, 12 February 1994

participants ready to begin their walk through the Channel Tunnel

Walkers ready to enter the Channel Tunnel and begin their 31-mile walk

participants ready to begin their walk through the Channel Tunnel

Walkers getting ready to embark on their walk through the Channel Tunnel

participants ready to begin their walk through the Channel Tunnel

A band plays as walkers prepare to embark

participants ready to begin their walk through the Channel Tunnel

approximately 50 people walking in the Channel Tunnel

Walking the Channel Tunnel

participants ready to begin their walk through the Channel Tunnel

At the one-mile marker

participants ready to begin their walk through the Channel Tunnel

At the border between France and England

 

The Berlin marathon

If you're looking for an international activity to help raise funds for our work, consider the Berlin marathon, one of Europe's most iconic runs.

Find out more.

By Matt Summers-Sparks - Digital team

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Comments

Although I didn’t participate in the actual walk, I can remember the event taking place. It was a truly innovative ‘once in a life time’ opportunity for The Children’s Society and took a lot of organising with the Daily Mail and others. Le Walk had its own office in the BT Tower (courtesy of BT) and attracted both the support of individuals and companies, e.g. H M Samuel. What an experience being able to walk through the Channel Tunnel! I don’t think they would stop the trains for it now! Special medals were made for each contestant, a gala dinner was held for the contestants and a plaque commemorating the event put in place at the Folkestone (I think) end of tunnel; I wonder if that is still there? The huge piece of equipment in the big group photograph is the cutting-end of one of the tunnel-boring machines used in the construction process – and clearly for sale at this point!

What a fantastic story. Really enjoyed the pictures also. Would be nice to know twenty years later, what our supporters are doing now and their recollections?

I am proud to say that I did take part in Le Walk on behalf of the Childrens' Society. It was a fantastic day and a privilege to be part of such a historic event. Unfortunately it is not yet recognised anywhere other than on the plaque at Folkestone - yes it is still there. I feel a Wikipedia article coming on. It is good to see the photographs; they bring back happy memories of the event. There were a number of celebrities involved but I can't remember who!

It was a real honour to be chosen for Le Walk and I participated as Vice- President of the National Children's Home, subsequently known just as NCH. It has now changed its name to Action for Children and is still the largest children's charity in the UK and I remain closely involved as an Ambassador. I walked the 31 miles together with my younger son Lee and now that he lives with his family in Paris we are actually separated by the Channel Tunnel but often travel through it to see each other. Always a fantastic adventure and memory we share. I have climbed many mountains but Le Walk was truly a one off.
Though I am always very willing to go for it again!