Bradley Stoke man’s marathon charity walk to mark employer’s 150th anniversary

Photo of Neil Thompson and Wayne Carter holding a Cystic Fibrosis Trust banner outside the National Friendly office

A seasoned long-distance walker from Bradley Stoke is to join two friends on a four-day 140-mile challenge to raise funds for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust.

Neil Thompson has chosen to use the 150th anniversary of his employer, National Friendly, based in Queen Square, Bristol, as an opportunity to raise money for the mutual society’s charity of the year.

He will be joined on the trek, which is scheduled to take place from 16th to 20th April (timed to finish on the actual day of the anniversary), by friends Andrew Bailey and Julian Rigby.

Two years ago, Neil completed the ultra marathon Green Man Challenge around the outskirts of Bristol (45 miles in under 24 hours) with Julian. He followed this last year by joining Andrew on a walk from Bath to Cheltenham (100km in under 24 hours).

National Friendly was formed in Albury, Surrey where the local reverend set up a friendly society to help villagers prepare for the contingency that ill-health might prevent them from working. The Reverend Canon Portal was a keen walker and he and novelist Lewis Carroll often walked the Surrey countryside together.

Now based in the centre of Bristol, what better way to mark the society’s anniversary than to make the physical journey from Albury to Bristol? Better still, the walk hopes to gain publicity and raise money to support research of one of the UK’s most common life-shortening inherited conditions.

The charity was proposed by head of sales and marketing at National Friendly, Wayne Carter, whose own brother and sister died from cystic fibrosis.

Wayne said:

“I very much appreciate National Friendly choosing Cystic Fibrosis as their charity of the year, it being so close to my heart following the death of my younger brother and sister from this disease and also witnessing the devastating effect the deaths had on both my parents. I work in the same team as Neil, so I hear first-hand of all the work he does for charity. It is heartwarming and moving. Please give generously for this brilliant charity, striving to help eradicate this dreadful disease.”

To support Neil and his friends, you can donate securely via their fundraising page at

Photo: Neil Thompson (left) and Wayne Carter outside the National Friendly office.

This article originally appeared in the April 2018 issue of the Bradley Stoke Journal news magazine (on page 22). The magazine is delivered FREE, EVERY MONTH, to 9,200 homes in Bradley Stoke and Little Stoke. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.

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  1. The Journal has received the following message from Neil Thompson:

    “We successfully completed the 145 mile walk in 4 ½ days, finishing about 2.15 last Friday afternoon. It was very tiring but a great thing to have done.”

    “We have raised around £1,700 for Cystic Fibrosis, which National Friendly will match.”

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