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A thousand reasons to help light Hadrian's Wall
Torch bearers on Hadrian's Wall
Volunteers will help to create 'line of light' along Hadrian's Wall

On Saturday 13 March, gas beacons and flares were lit at various points on Hadrian's Wall to create a "line of light" stretching from coast to coast.

Around 1,000 volunteers helped to ignite roughly 500 individual points of light at 250m intervals along the wall.

The organisers were surprised by the amount of people who put their names forward and the volunteers had many reasons for wanting to take part.

They ranged from someone celebrating their birthday to a romantic husband.

A thousand reasons

It's happening on my birthday... it will be a really good way of starting off a party
Maxine Granger

The lights will be illuminated in succession - starting at Wallsend at 5.45pm and finishing in Bowness-on-Solway in Cumbria just over an hour later.

A helicopter will followed and filmed the 84 mile-long line created.

Each volunteer "illuminator" had a personal reason for wanting to take part. Here are a few of their stories.

The grandfather
Lynn Turnball and his granddaughter
Lynn and his granddaughter kitted out for walking the wall

Hadrian's Wall is special to Lynn Turnball, from Haltwhistle, because he associates it with his grandchildren.

Lynn has walked the entire wall twice - the first time with his grandson and the second with his seven-year-old granddaughter.

"We did it on the understanding that she couldn't whinge and I was the only one allowed to moan," he said.

"She completed it in six days and never missed anything. It was great, it was really enjoyable."

Lynn said he was really looking forward to being part of such a unique event:

"I think it will be a great experience, and hopefully I've got the children coming up to watch it from one of the stands so that will cap it all really."

But, he's preparing himself in case of inclement weather.

"I don't know how the Romans lasted on the wall without Gortex and special clothing," he said. "It beats me!"

The birthday treat

Maxine Granger, who lives in Wark, saw the event advertised on Facebook.

She thought it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity not to be missed - but that's not all:

"The added bonus is that it's actually happening on my birthday," she explained.

Torch bearers on Hadrian's Wall
Maxine thinks the event will be a great way to celebrate her birthday

"It will just be a really good way of starting off a party. Then we're all going back to mine to have a bit of a knees-up to celebrate."

Maxine said she will be "dressed to the hilt" for the occasion - but in gloves, hat and warm clothes rather than a party dress!

She also added that she was keen to take part because the Roman wall is such an integral part of the area where she lives.

Originally from the Midlands, she feels it will give her a chance to give something back to the community that has welcomed her.

The enthusiast

Lesli Godfrey, from Heaton, was 13 when she first walked along Hadrian's Wall with her family.

Lesli Godfrey
Lesli has black and white photos of herself and her grandfather at the wall

Born and bred in Newcastle, she remembers studying the history of the wall at school and still has black-and-white photos of herself and her grandfather on it.

Lesli applied to be a volunteer as soon as she heard about the event.

"I just thought it would be a really good thing to take part in to celebrate the fact that we have the wall up here," she said.

"And to get out in the countryside in the dark would also be quite exciting, and with fire!"

However much - or little - she can see from her beacon, Lesli thinks it will be a unique experience.

She said: "It will be very exciting waiting for the lights to appear in the distance.

"If we're high enough to be able to count the lights as they come towards us, ready for our turn to light our flare, it's going to be really exciting."

She hopes the event will be something she can tell any future grandchildren about one day - just as she and her grandfather talked about the wall.


There will also be two public events on the night - one at Segedunum in Wallsend and one in Carlisle.

The organisers are advising people to attend one of these events rather than going anywhere else along the wall.

For more information visit the Illuminating Hadrian's Wall website.




SEE ALSO
Was there a timber Hadrian's Wall?
15 Oct 09 |  History
Line of light for Hadrian's Wall
14 Jan 10 |  England

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