Graham's walk challenge raises £3,000 for Scarborough YMCA

YMCA theatre manager Graham Ibbotson is not one to refuse a challenge - even if it means walking from Whitby to Scarborough.

Wednesday, 1st July 2020, 12:30 pm
Mark Dresser, left, and Graham Ibbotson

The Covid-19 pandemic has forced the closure of the YMCA and, like so many charities, lost of most of its income overnight.

Graham, who has worked at Scarborough YMCA for 36 years since leaving school, said “The YMCA plays such a huge part in so many people’s lives. Whether that is through the theatre or one of the many other activities, the YMCA is responsible for so many positive experiences. To see it closed and empty is heart-breaking.”

In the past three months, a programme of online activity has been developed, and the YMCA is also an active part of the Scarborough and Filey Covid-19 Community Response, a partnership between Age UK Scarborough and District, and Scarborough Whitby and Ryedale Mind.

The YMCA building in St Thomas Street though is closed, most staff are furloughed, and there is no certainty when the building will be able to re-open.

YMCA trustee and Graham’s oldest friend Mark Dresser, who also did the walk, said: “The YMCA needs help to get through the next phase of the pandemic, as it is unthinkable that this amazing organisation will have to stay closed for one day longer than necessary.

"I met Graham through the YMCA nearly four decades ago and we have been friends since. I know that the past few months have been difficult for him, so I thought it would be good to challenge him to walk the 22 miles from Whitby Abbey to Scarborough Castle, and to raise some money for the YMCA along the way. Neither of us thought for one moment that it would raise so much.”.

The fundraising challenge was promoted mainly via social media, and YMCA staff, volunteers and supporters stepped forward and collectively pledged more than £3,000 to support Mark and Graham’s efforts.

“I would like to say a massive thank you to everyone who sponsored me”, said Graham. “The level of support has been amazing - my original target was £500 and I’d passed that within a couple of days of the first social media post. It is so important that the community which has benefitted so much from the YMCA over the years, now does all it can to help it re-open.”

To find out more about YMCA Scarborough and to make a donation, check out their Facebook page at