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Marathon walk to raise money for 200th anniversary of Bury St Edmunds Theatre reaches finishing line

PUBLISHED: 18:07 22 April 2019 | UPDATED: 11:47 24 April 2019

A group gathers at the Theatre Royal in Bury St Edmunds to celebrate the end of the 200 mile walk. Pictures: VICTORIA PERTUSA

A group gathers at the Theatre Royal in Bury St Edmunds to celebrate the end of the 200 mile walk. Pictures: VICTORIA PERTUSA

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Fundraisers have completed a mammoth walk taking them 200 miles across East Anglia,to help raise money for a historic Suffolk playhouse on its 200th anniversary.

Julia Read oversees fundraising at the theatre and helped organise the event. Picture: VICTORIA PERTUSAJulia Read oversees fundraising at the theatre and helped organise the event. Picture: VICTORIA PERTUSA

Walkers started their journey in Cambridge on Saturday, April 13, marching for nine days straight, finally reaching The Theatre Royal in Bury St Edmunds today.

The event, called 200 for 200, was organised by the Bury St Edmunds theatre as a key fundraiser in celebration of the Regency building's 200th anniversary.

Principal walkers Tony Kelly and Dawn Roberts designed a 200-mile trail through the Suffolk and Norfolk landscape which follows the historic route taken by a troupe of performers some 200 years ago who would tour theatres in the larger market towns to bring entertainment to people.

The Theatre Royal is the only one of those original venues remaining.

The group gathered to celebrate the achievement of the fund raisers at the Theatre Royal in Bury St Edmunds. Picture: VICTORIA PERTUSAThe group gathered to celebrate the achievement of the fund raisers at the Theatre Royal in Bury St Edmunds. Picture: VICTORIA PERTUSA

The 200 for 200 is being sponsored by Bury Physio and supported by the East Anglian Daily Times and the Mercury Series.

Funds raised will go towards supporting the theatre's extensive opportunities for children and young people.

It will also support the theatre's pioneering Associate Artist Programme working with and delivering programmes for those in rehab, victims of domestic abuse, the homeless, the elderly, the lonely and isolated, all through partnership working with other charities supporting those groups.

The event was supported by a range of well known actors and TV presenters who joined in for parts of the journey.

Crowds gathered at the Theatre Royal in Bury St Edmunds for the event. Picture: VICTORIA PERTUSACrowds gathered at the Theatre Royal in Bury St Edmunds for the event. Picture: VICTORIA PERTUSA

BBC presenter Sophie Raworth was supposed to walk the final eight miles alongside the fund raisers but had to pull out after injuring her foot running in a marathon.

Julie Read, who oversees fundraising at the theatre, said: “It was a really, really happy day.

“We gave everyone prosecco and tea when they arrived to celebrate. There were a few limping and a few with sore bits who needed to go and have a bubble bath but everyone made it.

“All in all it looks like we raised around £11,000 from donations and a few stand out walkers really worked hard to raise money.

Gordon Cawthorne and Gill Adams, who walked the final nine-mile leg of the 200-mile journey. Picture: VICTORIA PERTUSAGordon Cawthorne and Gill Adams, who walked the final nine-mile leg of the 200-mile journey. Picture: VICTORIA PERTUSA

“I'm so pleased we managed to raise so much for such a good cause.”

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