There are not many people who can persuade their neighbours to rise at dawn ready to join in a 34-mile walk at 5.30am! However, that’s what community-minded roofer Terry Maguire does.
Each year for the past six years he had been joined by scores of residents for the annual The Big Walk, a tour of every single street in Newton-le-Willows, near St Helens, collecting donations to help young people participate in clubs and other activities in the Merseyside town.
The money is managed through Business for Youth, a registered charity that Terry set up to support local good causes and of which he is chairman. This year’s The Big Walk 6 on Saturday, 9th June, raised an impressive £4,000-5,000.
Maguire said: “The Big Walk is a way of bringing the community together and literally asking them to stand up for Newton-le-Willows. This year there were 117 on the start line.
“It’s not everywhere you can ask people to wake at 4am to get to the start for 5.30am. But we’ve had families with children, also grandparents and dogs. We visit every street and road in the town and people can join in on the route.”
Maguire's community work earned him a nomination as a ‘Local Hero’ in the National Federation of Roofing Contractors 2018 UK Roofing Awards. Sponsor SIG Roofing recently helped him with materials to establish a headquarters for Business for Youth.
“Graeme Ritchie from SIG Roofing in Warrington (formerly known as Cheshire Roofing Supplies) was able to source a lot of sheeting for us to clad our hut with which we’re very grateful for,” said Maguire.
Money from The Big Walk goes towards supporting a wide range of local activities, from dance groups to sports events, gardening clubs to swimming. Five percent of the 2018 sum will go to the town’s St Mary’s Junior and Infant Schools and Lyme Community Primary School, which won a Design a T-shirt competition launched to encourage collaboration between schoolchildren.
When not spending ‘countless hours’ in support of Business for Youth, Maguire is a Director of TMR (NW) Ltd, a roofing business he established in 1991 and which employs a team of three.
Inspiration to do something for the local community came to Maguire in April 2011 when, having challenged himself to walk from Newton-le-Willows to Caernarfon, a friend suggested he do it for charity.
“I thought ‘what am I concerned about’ – kids hanging around on street corners with nothing to do, and ‘how can I raise money’ – by approaching local businesses,” he said.
The following year he walked to Gretna Green.
The first The Big Walk was in 2013, which he organised himself. He was later joined by a now seven-strong committee and they formalised the charity in 2016.
Maguire said: “Each year it gets that little bit bigger. Newton-le-Willows is a small place but with a wonderful spirit. There’s a fantastic bond in the community and a great bunch of junior and adult volunteers. It is very rewarding in so many ways.”
The annual National Federation of Roofing Contractors UK Roofing Awards recognise the best of the best in the roofing sector. As the awards’ headline sponsor, SIG Roofing was also pleased to support the Local Hero award as a way of acknowledging outstanding roofing contractors who go the extra mile for their local community and are so often unsung heroes.