Two local Christian Aid supporters have completed a challenge to see what it is like to fetch water over a long distance.

Last Thursday (May 6), John McArdle (68) and Tony Brookes (73) walked from their homes in Hexham to the water’s edge at Corbridge to fill up containers of water, and then walked back with it.

The annual Christian Aid Week appeal is running from Monday, May 10 until Sunday, May 16 this year.

Hexham Christian Aid Group said Rose Katanu (67) walks five miles every two days in eastern Kenya to fetch 80 litres of water for her six grandchildren in her care.

They said when Rose was young, the “rivers flowed with water and the crops bore fruit, but extreme weather caused by the climate crisis is making it harder and harder to survive the frequent droughts”.

“The coronavirus pandemic has only increased the urgent need for families to access a reliable source of water,” they said.

John and Tony decided to see what it was like to fetch water over a long distance.

John said: “We found out that Rose took a donkey to carry the water back, but we could not manage to find one. In any event we didn’t fancy the prospect of a donkey running amok along Corbridge Road!”

Instead, they carried the containers themselves.

“It was very hard work,” John said.

Tony said: “We all take water so much for granted.

“Rose and her grandchildren shouldn’t have to go to such lengths to keep from being hungry and thirsty. A simple earth dam, built with the help of Christian Aid’s partners could completely change their lives.

“This Christian Aid Week, I would encourage all Hexham Courant readers to give what they can to help families like Rose’s survive the droughts.”

Donations can be made online at or by returning one of the envelopes delivered across Hexham to the Hexham Abbey Shop.