Family’s charity walk to help heal others

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A mother is set to embark on a special pilgrimage with her two sons to raise money for a charity which helped the family following her daughter’s death.

Al Milnes, curator of Staithes Gallery, and her sons Max (19) and Olmo (17), are to walk from their home in Bishophill, York, to Staithes - a 60-mile journey which will take them three days, in support of HCPT The Pilgrimage Trust.

The family lost Ruby following a collision with a lorry on a cycle track near York Racecourse in 2008.

The charity took Ruby’s sister, Pearl, on a pilgrimage holiday to Lourdes which Al says was invaluable help at a time when the family were trying to come to terms with Ruby’s death.

Al said: “Just after Ruby died, leaving our family utterly broken and grieving, HCPT contacted us and offered to take her sister Pearl, who has Down’s Syndrome, on a holiday to Lourdes.

“We weren’t sure at first but thought we’d look into it and when we met them and, more importantly, when Pearl met them, we realised that they would be able to give her something she really needed at the time - the chance to go away on a bit of an adventure with a lovely group of people who would care for and value her, give her time, affection and warmth in a beautiful place.”

Al believes the charity, which is for people “of all faiths and none”, helped ease the pain for the whole family by helping both Pearl, who is now 21 and an art student at York College, and her sister, Bonnie, 18, who later volunteered and went on the pilgrimage as a helper.

Al hopes to raise enough money from the walk for other disabled and disadvantaged people to be able to go on a similar holiday.

The family are now looking forward to the walk, which they are planning to do in early March.

To sponsor them go to and to find more about the charity go to