How Kerry Irving & His Dogs Raised £41,000 for Charity
- Erin Swanson
16-Mile Remembrance Walk
On November 12, Kerry Irving set out on a 16-mile walk with his dogs, Harry and Paddy, to raise funds for Scotty’s Little Soldiers, a charity that supports children & young people who have experienced the death of a parent who served in the British Armed Forces.
Thousands of Facebook followers tuned in for his live GPS tracking feed as he and his pups braved gale force winds, torrential rain, and the steep walk over Catbells in Keswick, England. As followers cheered him on from afar, their donations came flooding in. Kerry’s initial target was £20,000, but he far exceeded that – raising over £41,000.
In addition to raising money for Scotty’s Little Soldiers, Kerry raised awareness. His Facebook post about the fundraiser gained 14,000 likes and 1,700 comments.
A year prior, Kerry raised £17,000 for this same charity. Combined with this year’s event, that’s a total of £58,000 raised for children who’ve lost a parent in the Armed Forces.
Who is Kerry Irving?
In 2006, Kerry was involved in a car accident that changed his life forever. Once a cyclist, Kerry now faced significant injuries and a long, grueling road to recovery. Grappling with this reality and his newfound chronic pain, Kerry slipped into depression.
Then, his neighbor’s dog, Max – an energetic Springer Spaniel – entered his life. Kerry began taking short walks to regain his strength, and Max tagged along. Max helped Kerry find hope during the darkest time of his life – one step, and paw, at a time. Kerry eventually adopted Max and grew his pack with the addition of two more spaniels, Harry and Paddy.
Since his life-altering accident five years ago, Kerry has shared his story as a Ruffwear Ambassador and with 274,000 combined Facebook and Instagram followers on his page, Max Out in the Lake District. Kerry collaborates with his loyal followers to lead fundraisers, such as his recent 16-Mile Remembrance Walk supporting Scotty’s Little Soldiers – raising £41,000 for the cause.
Kerry’s Canine Sidekicks
Max, now 14, was happy to stay home during the Remembrance Walk, swapping a steep trek in a downpour for a relaxing rest by the fire. In his place, Harry and Paddy – outfitted in Front Range® harnesses – accompanied Kerry on the 8-hour walk.
Harry and Paddy relished the opportunity to hike with Kerry, not deterred in the least by the storm. The GPS tracker hooked to Harry’s harness showed that he logged a whopping 30.2 miles! Once back home, the two pups scarfed down their dinner and joined Max by the fire – but only a half hour later, they wanted to go out for another walk.
Why Scotty’s Little Soldiers?
On his daily walks with Max, Harry, and Paddy, Kerry encouraged people to join them. Many of these people had served in the military. They would talk to him about PTSD, personal loss, and grief from their time in Iraq or Afghanistan. He heard tragic stories of children losing their parents and knew he had to help.
The UK charity, Scotty’s Little Soldiers, provides bereaved Forces children and young people with services such as guidance to parents and caregivers, education and learning assistance (including grants), access to child bereavement support, and social activities.
Kerry shares what makes Scotty’s Little Soldiers so special,
“They take the kids out, but they also mix them with other kids who are going through the same process, who have lost their parents. Scott encourages the kids to talk to each other. It’s a fantastic charity.”
Why Did Kerry Choose the Catbells Walk?
The Catbells walk has a special significance to Kerry:
“After my accident, Catbells was one of the very first hills I walked, and I thought it was ironic that we would walk Catbells lap on the [Remembrance] walk. It was quite an emotional day.”
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This journey was no easy feat. At one point, the high-speed winds knocked Kerry over on the top of Catbells. But when fatigue and weather wore him down, he remembered the support of his loyal followers and kept trekking.
“There was just no way I was going to fail. And that is the honest truth. Every step we took was supported so much by our community.”
Plans for the Future
Kerry and his pups are looking ahead to more fundraisers in 2022. Those on the schedule include a small, private fundraiser for Woodland Trust and a larger, public one in January for Paddy’s birthday. Kerry is still finalizing the who, what, when, and where details.
Soon, he’ll announce the sum total of donations for each of his walks – he’s predicting it will be about £400,000. You can stay in the loop for Kerry, Max, Paddy, and Harry’s next events by following them on their Facebook page.
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