Hampstead hikers to trek 86 miles in support of African maternity care

08:00 09 April 2014

Left to right: Caroline Marden, Beena Raja, Nancy Durrell McKenna, Gayle Morrison, Ann James, Jane Naylor and Indrani Mukerjee.

Left to right: Caroline Marden, Beena Raja, Nancy Durrell McKenna, Gayle Morrison, Ann James, Jane Naylor and Indrani Mukerjee.


Hampstead Heath has become a training ground for a group of hikers preparing to trek 86 miles to support mothers and babies in Africa.

Nancy Durrell McKenna, 64, founder and director of charity SafeHands for Mothers, will set off on a six-day walk from Ilkley, West Yorkshire, to Bowness-on-Windermere, Cumbria, in June.

The mother-of-two, of Fitzjohn’s Avenue, Hampstead, is part of a group of 30 fundraisers taking on the challenge to raise money for SafeHands for Mothers, which aims to improve maternal and newborn health in Africa.

Ms Durrell McKenna has been preparing for the trek with friends and supporters on Hampstead Heath and is appealing for more people to get involved.

“Our vision is a world where no woman dies in pregnancy and childbirth and we want to achieve this through making films,” said Ms Durrell McKenna.

“We make documentaries and raise awareness of issues such as female genital mutilation, Aids and family planning and we make films that inspire health workers.

“I have realised the power the visual has: the power to advocate for change, the power to raise awareness of the big issues that face mothers and newborns, it’s the power to make a difference.”

Using her skills as a photographer and film-maker, Ms Durrell McKenna set up the charity in 2003 and began shooting films to be shown in communities across Africa.

The charity works with a number of high-profile organisations, including UNICEF and the World Health Organisation, and distributes its educational films to African health workers who use solar-powered media players, carried in backpacks, to show the films to communities.

“In these countries we are finding huge illiteracy so the way to raise awareness and educate is through film,” said Ms Durrell McKenna. “These films are all done in their languages.”

The charity recently received a £500,000 Comic Relief grant to support its work in 81 Ethiopian villages over the next three years.

In 2009, Ms Durrell McKenna and friends raised £60,000 with an 86-mile trek from Triacastela to Santiago de Compostela in Spain.

They are hoping to exceed that total with this latest challenge, which will also mark the end of the charity’s 10th anniversary celebrations.

“We are appealing to people who want to come out and support us and walk with us,” said Ms Durrell McKenna. “The ultimate purpose is the much-needed funding that every charity is looking for.”

For more information about the charity trek and to sign up or donate, call SafeHands for Mothers on 020 7433 0792 or e-mail


Latest News Stories

37 minutes ago
Piers Corbyn, right, with the squatters in West Hampstead and Cllr Lorna Russell

Squatters who have occupied empty former council offices in West Hampstead will appear in court today.

Cllr Sarah Hayward

The leader at Camden Council has warned that the Chancellor’s comprehensive spending review may leave the authority struggling to carry out essential duties and place vulnerable residents at risk.

The youth attacked the women in Parliament Hill

The parents of a woman who was robbed and sexually assaulted on Hampstead Heath stormed out of a courtroom in anger after her 16-year-old attacker was jailed for just one year.

Yesterday, 17:00
Traders and Highgate Neighbourhood Forum members Jane Wiles, Rachel Allison, Louise Lewis, Allan Rapley and Emine Gokturk  launch Highgate's first live advent calendar. Picture: Nigel Sutton

For adults and children, the suspense of waiting each day to find out what is underneath the window of your advent calendar is one of the joys of the Christmas season.

Yesterday, 15:47
Khayerul Miah, pictured, and his brother have joined IS in Syria

The Camden school where two Islamic State (IS) recruits were pupils has released a statement to parents.

Yesterday, 15:13
Police cordoned off the pavement outside the Vodafone store in Finchley Road

The pavement outside a parade of shops on Finchley Road has been cordoned off after knife raiders threatened staff at a branch of Vodafone and made off with thousands of pounds worth of mobile phones.

Yesterday, 14:39
Save Autism Services Haringey protesters outside Haringey Civic Centre in Wood Green. Photo: Martin Ball

Families of vulnerable adults believe that dementia and autism services can still be saved – if council tax is increased.

Yesterday, 13:19
Carl Ryan, who is charged with misconduct in a public office, outside court (Picture: Central News)

A Camden-based detective accused of hampering investigations into six sex cases made a female colleague feel “uncomfortable, alienated and isolated”, a court heard.

Most read news

Property Newsletter Sign-up

Get the latest North London property news and features straight to your inbox with our regular newsletter

I am also happy to receive other emails...
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot


MAC Makeup

MAC are renowned for their flawless, fabulous make up that is used worldwide by the stars. You too can have the chance to have the perfect makeup to suit your needs with £1,000 to spend on all the glam goodies you like!


You are never far from an Argos, wherever in the country you may be. They are like a magical cavern where whatever you need they seem to have it out the back behind the counter. So why not put them to the test with this great MyOffers competition to win £1000 to spend in-store.

Digital Edition

Read the Hampstead & Highgate Express e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24

Local business directory

Our trusted business finder