Intrepid York singer will walk 500 miles for Women’s Aid

5 Aug 2020 @ 10.14 pm
| Charity

Lockdown has been tough enough for most of us – but for some it has been unbearable.

Women trapped in abusive relationships have been isolated from routes to safety and support, according to Women’s Aid, a leading charity in the campaign to end domestic violence.

Their plight is the inspiration for York singer-songwriter Bonnie Milnes to commit to a 500-mile fundraising walk for the charity – and a Women’s Day to celebrate the city’s female entrepreneurs.

Bonnie, who fronts the band Bonnie and The Bailers, told YorkMix: “During the pandemic I have been thinking about the victims of domestic abuse.

“It breaks my heart to think that, in their moments of need, support may be denied to victims due to stretched resources and under-funding.

“The last few months have, at times, made us all feel moments of loneliness, but these moments pale in comparison to the reality that many women are living in fear of abuse.”

Childhood memories

The young walkers. L-R: brother Max, a Spanish friend, Bonnie, sister Pearl, mum Alison, and sister Ruby

On August 17, Bonnie will start walking the Camino de Santiago and you can donoate to donate to Women’s Aid via the JustGiving page.

Bonnie, who has set herself a fundraising target of £3,000, added: “The 500 miles won’t be easy but Women’s Aid deserve every penny raised.”

Incredibly, this won’t be the first time Bonnie has tackled the gruelling route. As a child, Bonnie and her family walked the Camino path from France to Spain, and their exploits were even reported in The Times.

Bonnie says: “I’m pretty sure we were the youngest children on record to walk the Camino de Santiago and I have beautiful but very hazy memories of it, as I was only seven.

“Since doing that walk my eldest sister, Ruby, passed away and I am always worried about losing memories of her; I’m hoping the walk will remind me of happy times as well as raise money for a worthwhile charity. This time I will walk every mile in memory of her.”

Following the official guidelines on the Camino de Santiago website, Bonnie will be flying into France and walking through the remote and open countryside of northern Spain, well away from Covid-affected areas.

She will also quarantine on her return to the UK if required by the government.
In the meantime, Bonnie has been training for the walk by covering stretches of the Yorkshire Dales Way, and a little bit of light exercise: just a mere daily 10k run each morning!

Follow Bonnie’s progress with daily updates via her Instagram: @missyorkshiregold

Spark events

Bonnie: In training

The walk is only part of Bonnie’s fundraising efforts.

She and a lively band of York supporters have teamed up with Spark:York to stage a series of Women’s Day events there from 10am on Sunday, August 16.

New events are still being added. So far, the programme includes yoga, dance classes, a clothes swap, hairstyling, earring-making, manicure sessions and cocktail-building.

There is a suggested donation of £5 to take part in any of the workshop events. More details are being added on this Facebook page.

Camino de Santiago

The Camino de Santiago, also known as the Way of St. James, is a network of at least nine different pilgrims’ ways leading to the shrine of the apostle Saint James the Great in the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia in northwestern Spain. Tradition has it that the remains of the saint are buried there. Many walkers follow the routes as a form of spiritual path or retreat for their spiritual growth. It is also popular with non-religious hikers and cyclists.

Bonnie’s walk will follow the most famous Camino route, known as the French Way. It starts in Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, on the French side of the Pyrenees and takes in the vineyards of La Rioja, the rugged mountains of Léon and the peaceful countryside of rural Galicia. More than 200,000 pilgrims reach Santiago by this route each year and receive their Compostela certificate.

Photograph: Fresco Tours on Flickr