The Big Walk 2015

Meet the walkers

Our team of walkers is drawn from all parts of the University, including students, alumni, and staff. From support and professional services staff to lecturers, and from research fellows to Pro-Vice-Chancellors, the whole University is getting behind our campaign to raise money and awareness for Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (PAH) and lung disease. To find out more about the individual team members, and why they took part in the challenge take a look at the profiles below.

Team Captain - Tony Weetman Team Captain - Tony Ryan Allan Lawrie
Wayne Bond Lauren Buck Charlotte Harden
James Hill Clare Howarth Amy Jones
Les Morton Jessica Redgrave Tom Rhodes
Katherine Rogers Beatrice Taylor Dawn Teare
Soo Vinnicombe Pirashanthie Vivekananda-Schmidt Jim Wild
Jim Worthington Catherine Wynn Richard Yates

Tony Weetman - Team CaptainTony Weetman

Pro-Vice-Chancellor - Faculty of Medicine

Tony Weetman is Pro Vice Chancellor, Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health and moved to Sheffield as Professor of Medicine and Honorary Consultant Physician in 1991. His research has focused on thyroid disease and he is married with a son and daughter, who are now a little less resistant to walking than during their childhood!

Tony has completed a number of hill lists, including the Munros, Corbetts and Donalds, and done several long distance walks with his wife, including the Ridgeway and the Cleveland Way. He is greatly looking forward to the Pennine Way, which spans his native Northumberland and Durham and finishes at home now in Yorkshire.

As a physician, Tony understands the significance of pulmonary hypertension, having seen how this affects patients and their families, and he has strongly supported the outstanding research going on in Sheffield to identify new ways to manage this important and sometimes overlooked condition.

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Tony Ryan - Team CaptainProfessor Tony Ryan

Pro-Vice-Chancellor – Faculty of Science

Tony is the Pro Vice Chancellor and Professor of Physical Chemistry at the University of Sheffield. Tony has 3 degrees (BSc, PhD and DSc) in polymers and materials science from Manchester. He moved to Sheffield in 1997 and has been Head of the Chemistry Department, Director of the Polymer Centre and Divisional Director of research for Physical Science. He is married with two daughters, loves cooking and eating and lives in Nether Edge.

Last year Tony took part in the Ride Across Britain Land’s End to John O’Groats cycle ride. He completed the route in 9 days and helped the team to raise over £44,000 for Deafness Research.

This year Tony is excited about hanging up his bikes and swapping them for his walking shoes. Completing the Pennine Way has been a life-long ambition of Tony’s and he cannot wait to share the experience with colleagues from the University.

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Allan LawrieAllan Lawrie

BHF Senior Research Fellow – Cardiovascular Science

Allan Lawrie is a British Heart Foundation Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Cardiovascular Science. Allan first became interested in pulmonary hypertension during his post-doctoral studies at Stanford University, California. He obtained a Medical School Russell Fellowship to return to Sheffield at the end of 2004. Allan’s research has led to a Medical Research Council Career Development Award in 2008, and a British Heart Foundation Senior Research Fellowship in 2013.

Allan leads the pre-clinical research in Sheffield and has a built research group with a strong focus on patient impact. He runs a blood bio bank working closely with NHS colleagues in the Sheffield Pulmonary Vascular Disease Unit, and through a translational MRC award, is working closely with commercial partners to develop novel therapies.

Allan is a keen sportsman although now mostly through his 2 children. Having grown up on a hill farm in Perthshire, Allan is looking forward to stomping over the Pennine Way to raise money for what is a devastating disease for those affected.

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Wayne BondWayne Bond

Security Supervisor – Estates & Facilities Management

Wayne Bond has worked at the University of Sheffield for 26 years and currently his role is Security Supervisor within Estates and Facilities Management.

Wayne has a keen interest in health and fitness and this forms a key part in his daily routine. He regularly spends his days off cycling and walking, and most days he visits the gym. He also has a keen interest in rearing and keeping koi carp which keeps him busy.

Wayne has taken part in many charity walks for local charities which he enjoys very much. He finds taking part very rewarding especially for good causes. Being part of the team of University staff, students and alumni undertaking this walk is very important and means such a lot to him as he lost a close family member as a result of lung disease. By doing this not only will it be an important milestone in Wayne’s life but also an opportunity to raise funds for research into finding a cure for this dreadful disease.

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Lauren BuckLauren Buck

Associate University Teacher - Biomedical Science

Lauren is an Associate University Teacher in the Department of Biomedical Science at the University of Sheffield. Her specialism is in student-focused anatomy education. Lauren is particularly fascinated by neuroanatomy and also enjoys embedding enterprise education into the course.

Outside University, Lauren leads a fairly active and busy life. She enjoys going to the gym and backpacking to interesting countries, and has recently begun a course in ceramics. Lauren often walks in the Peak District, encouraged by her partner Steve. The biggest challenge for Lauren is that she is not used to such long walks on consecutive days but she is willing to give anything a go for a good cause and believes in perseverance (and blister plasters!).

Lauren is delighted to be a member of the team and is keen to raise funds for research into lung disease at the University of Sheffield, specifically for pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH).

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Charlotte HardenCharlotte Harden

Fellowships Development Officer – RIS

Charlotte works in Research and Innovation Services as a Fellowship Development Officer. She works with early- and mid-career researchers across all our Faculties and provides dedicated support to the Vice-Chancellor’s Fellows. Previously she worked in the research area of nutrition and appetite biology.

As a teenager and young adult, Charlotte was a member of an athletics club and took part in competition hikes. Twenty years later, she finds it hard to keep as fit as she’d like and so is really looking forward to both the challenge of the walk and the amazing scenery.

Charlotte is keen to raise as much money as possible for pulmonary arterial hypertension research.

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James HillJames Hill

Admissions Assistant – Student Services-Admissions

James is an Admissions Assistant at the University of Sheffield, dealing with many Undergraduate and Postgraduate applications for the Faculty of Arts and Humanities and the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health.

James previously worked in the NHS and Private Sectors for Doctor Recruitment and Research, and has always been fascinated in the research that goes on. James understands that there are professionals in the Medical field that are eager and keen to move forward on ground breaking research and potential life-saving treatments, however this can be hampered by financial implications which can restrict their work.

On a more personal note, James will also be doing the walk in honour of his father-in-law-to-be, Arthur Doman. Arthur also walked the Pennine Way back in 1997 when he was 65 to raise Money for Weston Park Hospital after his wife had passed away from Breast Cancer. Arthur has more recently been diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) which is an incurable disease and has also suffered from Basal cell carcinoma (skin cancer) over the past few years for which he has had several operations.

James is passionate in raising money for this cause on many reasons, and is also looking forward to the many fund raising ideas in Student Recruitment and Admissions (SRA).

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Clare HowarthClare Howarth

Vice Chancellor’s Advanced Fellow – Department of Psychology

Clare is a Vice Chancellor’s Advanced Fellow and Sir Henry Dale Fellow in the Department of Psychology. In her research, she investigates how the brain’s blood supply is regulated so that the energy demands of neurons can be met.

Clare spent several years as a post-doc in Canada, during which time she hiked many of the local mountains.

Nowadays, she can often be found out walking in the Peak District at the weekends. In addition to hiking, Clare is a keen runner who has completed several marathons, including the 2015 London Marathon, and who has recently taken up fell running. She is hoping that the training for these events will help her during the upcoming Pennine Way challenge. Clare’s biggest worry is being able to persuade her legs to keep going after several consecutive days of hiking many miles over tough terrain.

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Amy JonesAmy Jones

External Relations Manager – Corporate Affairs

As well as working in Corporate Affairs at the University, Amy is also a graduate of the Mechanical Engineering department and worked in the Engineering Faculty for nine years before her current role.

Growing up in Sheffield, Amy has always enjoyed walking in the Peak District and did the Inca Trail a few years ago when she spent a year travelling around the world.

Amy has already started training by walking home from work to Dronfield a few days a week and plans to get back on her road bike over the summer.

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Les MortonLes Morton

Technician in Mechanical Engineering – Mechanical Engineering

Les is a Technician in the department of mechanical engineering working for the Dynamics research group, having previously worked in industry for BSC, Sheffield Forgemasters, Davy international and for 7 years in the Rolls Royce University Technology Centre (RR UTC) which was part of the Dynamics group.

He competed for GB in the 50 kilometre race-walk at the 1988 and 1992 Olympics but his best performance was in the 1991 world Athletics championships in Tokyo when he was 10th. In 2001 he and a friend Simon Wiles who worked alongside him at the time raised money in aid of Sheffield children's hospital when they ran in the Percy pud 10k dressed as a pantomime camel and got into the Guinness book of records for the fastest time in a 2 man costume.

His hobbies are running and cycling and last year competing for GB finished 5th in the world Duathlon championships in his age group. Although considering himself fairly fit he is not going to underestimate the Pennine way walk, 286 miles is a long way and we should show it the respect it deserves.

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Jessica RedgraveJessica Redgrave

Clinical Lecturer - SITraN

Jessica is a NIHR Clinical Lecturer at Sheffield Insititute of Translational Neuroscience (SITraN) and an honorary consultant neurologist. She has a clinical and academic interest in stroke and is working to develop ways to enhance recovery of limb weakness.

Jessica enjoys sporting challenges having previously taken part in long distance cycling and running events. She also loves being part of a team and so she is very excited about taking part in the Big Walk. Jessica is a mother of two boys aged 2 and 5 who keep always her on her toes but some more dedicated training for this event will involve swapping her cleats for hiking boots and enjoying the great outdoors at a different kind of pace.

To make a donation to Jessica Redgrave visit:

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Tom RhodesTom Rhodes

Head of International Relations – Sheffield International

Tom came to Sheffield in 1989 to study Politics. Having worked in a number of different roles across the University's professional services Tom is now Head of International Relations within the University’s International Relations Office. The IRO was established in 2011 to manage international relationships with university and corporate partners.

Tom is an experienced walker and is usually out walking in the Peak District at weekends. He has undertaken long distance treks in the Cairngorms, Northumberland and the Atlas Mountains and has completed the Oxfam Trailtrekker and Trailwalker challenges (both 100km in under 30 hours).

Walking the Pennine Way has been a long-term ambition and, having walked along different stretches of it over the years, Tom is looking forward to joining all the bits together. He is particularly proud to be representing the University and pleased to be raising funds for Lung Disease research.

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Kathy RogersKathy Rogers

Digital Humanities Developer – Humanities Research Institute

Kathy is a Digital Humanities Developer at the university's Humanities Research Institute, working on projects such as Bess of Hardwick's Letters and Connected Histories. She came to Sheffield in 1992 to study History at the University and never left, partly because she loves having the Peak District on her doorstep.

She is a keen walker and is up a hill somewhere in the Peaks most weekends. She has hiked the Grand Canyon twice and walked parts of the Great Wall but never attempted anything quite as long as the Pennine Way. Her belief that nothing is too muddy, boggy or dirty to walk through often means that she has to sit on a bin bag on the journey home.

Her pet rats won't be joining on her on this adventure - they'll be cheering her on from the warmth and comfort of their cage.

To make a donation to Katherine Rogers visit:

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Beatrice TaylorBT

Facilities Manager, EFM, Professional Services - Estates & Facilities Management

Beatrice has worked for the Univeristy of Sheffield since 2009 in Management roles and currently holds the position of Facilities Manager for Estates and Facilities Management, managing a range of Facilities Management Services, to the University community. She is also on the last leg of her MBA in Strategic Facilities Management, which she hopes to finish this year.

Beatrice is pretty active regularly doing yoga, walking and running. Under her belt she has a number of 10K's, a few trail half marathons and long walks such as the Edale Skyline, but the Pennine Way will certainly be her biggest challenge.

At the weekends she walks with her 7 year old son in Derbyshire and often squeezes around 7-8 miles out of him, but needs to get in some longer training walks before hand.

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Dawn TeareDawn Teare

Reader in Biostatistics and Epidemiology - ScHARR

Dawn is a Reader in Biostatistics and Epidemiology in the School of Health and Related Research at the University of Sheffield. She is a Sheffield Alumna and worked as a genetic epidemiologist and statistician in Manchester and Cambridge before returning to Sheffield as a lecturer in 2001.

Dawn is a keen hiker and over the years has worn out many a pair of walking boots. She has already covered the Pennine Way in several 1-5 day stages with full camping kit carried along the way. Some of these stages were successfully completed with all four members of her family and while her children were young teenagers. She is looking forward to the training challenge of fitting in a few 25 mile walks each week.

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Soo VinnicombeSoo Vinnicombe

Programme Manager – Strategy, Planning and Governance

Soo works in Strategy, Planning and Governance as a Programme Manager leading a small team who provide project management support to a variety of strategic institutional projects. This requires her to be very organised at work and to have a calm manner and a sense of humour about any obstacles that come her way.

Soo has previously worked in a small translation and design agency in the centre of Manchester's Chinatown, as a project leader in IT in the private sector (including five months working in New Delhi), in research in local government and in a sector skills council before finding her way into the University. She has an undergraduate degree in Chinese and History (with an option in International Law and Human Rights) and a Masters in Development Studies as well as having completed various Open University courses - so she knows a little about lots of obscure things.

Soo is a keen but sporadic walker having previously completed several long distance backpacks in the UK including the West Highland Way, the Coast to Coast, the Cape Wrath Trail and the Pennine Way (a few years ago). Despite this she remains stubbornly overweight and unfit.

To make a donation to Soo Vinnicombe visit:

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Pirashanthie Vivekananda-SchmidtPirashanthie Vivekananda-Schmidt

Lecturer – Academic Unit of Medical Education

Pirashanthie is a lecturer at the Academic Unit of Medical Education and lead for the professionalism theme of the Sheffield MB ChB programme; this theme includes Ethics & Law, Personal Development, and Patient Safety education.

She has always liked walking though whole day walks have become a thing of the past since having children. This will be her first ever charity fundraising challenge and she is super excited about it. She is sharing this walk with Jessica and will be doing the second part of the walk starting on 9th September.

Her usual commute to work and back is by cycle. Part of her training plan for this challenge is to replace 1-2 of her daily work commute by bicycle with a jog/walk to work and back. She already started with this plan last week!

To make a donation to Pirashanthie Vivekananda-Schmidt visit:

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Jim WildJim Wild

Professor - Department of Cardiovascular Science

Jim is a physicist in the Department of Cardiovascular sciences. He works on the development and application of new techniques for functional MR imaging of the lungs. In the last 15 years he has worked closely with the Sheffield Pulmonary Vascular Disease Unit developing new imaging techniques for the diagnosis of pulmonary hypertension and he is very supportive of this cause.

Jim is a native Sheffield walker and climber of 30 years. He has aspired to walk the Pennine Way, since bogtrotting on Kinder and Bleaklow as a youth. His training will consist of circuits of the Porter valley with one of his kids on his back.

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Jim WorthingtonJim Worthington

Alumnus - PGCE 1974, PhD Chemistry 1975

Jim retired as a Business Analyst with Hewlett-Packard in Sheffield at the beginning of 2013, and has been trying to live quietly in Rotherham since then. After his first degree in Molecular Sciences at Warwick University, he moved to Sheffield in 1970 to do his PhD on structural studies in transition metal compounds. A post-graduate certificate of education dissuaded him from teaching, and he finished his academic career with two years post-doctoral research in the Chemistry Department. He then spent 36 years in IT, starting with Ferranti in Manchester in 1977.

In his younger days, Jim spent a lot of time rock-climbing and mountaineering, but domestic life slowed things down quite a bit after getting married in 1978. He has three married daughters and four grandchildren.

Jim has wanted to do the Pennine Way ever since hearing about it at school. Doing it for charity, 50 years later, is an opportunity not to be missed.

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Catherine WynnCatherine Wynn

Scholarships Officer – RIS

Catherine graduated from the University in 2002 after spending her University life with the University Walking Club (including a year as Vice President). After graduating from the University, she settled in the Hope Valley.

She returned to the University early in 2014 (after a much convoluted route) to work in Research and Innovation Services. She has previously worked in Moorland Restoration along the Pennine Way where she found it much quicker to reach the Pennine Summits by means of a Hilux or Helicopter.

A keen rugby player, she’ll turn her hand (and feet) to most activities and is looking forward to the walk as an excuse not to run over Kinder Scout with a barrel of beer. A resident of Edale, she is not looking forward to walking 268 miles home and then getting up the next morning and walking into work. She has previously completed Wainwright’s Coast to Coast on two occasions at a pleasant meandering pace and the C2C cycle route.

To make a donation to Catherine Wynn visit:

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Richard YatesRichard Yates

Security Manager - Estates & Facilities Management

Richard is responsible for security at the University and heads up a team of 58 in-house security and campus warden staff. Security is a job that he loves and he is passionate about helping to enhance the Sheffield student experience. A member of the University since 1991 he has seen great developments in not only security but also in the size of our estate and the diversity of our students.

Being the father of 4 boys outside of work most of Richards’s time and money is spent with or on his family. A retired Army Officer, Richard enjoys getting out on the hills around the UK whenever he gets the opportunity. (Special permission from his wife is required)

Having competed in many challenges including the National 3 Peaks, UK Tough Guy and the lakes 3000 in recent years he is looking forward to the Pennine Way. Richard is delighted to be a member of the team and is keen to raise funds for research into lung disease at the University of Sheffield

To make a donation to Richard Yates visit:

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