Family of Ruby Milnes in Moors charity trek in aid of HCPT - The Pilgrimage Trust

Al Milnes, the mother of Ruby, and her two sons Max, 19, left, and Olmo, 17, get in some training ahead of their charity walk to Staithes

Al Milnes with Olmo, left, and Max

Ruby Milnes

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The family of Ruby Milnes, who was killed in a cycle accident near York Racecourse, are walking across the North York Moors in support of a charity which helped her sisters after her death.

Al Milnes and her two sons, Max and Olmo, are to walk from their home in Bishophill, York, to Staithes, a 60-mile journey which will take them three days, in support of HCPT The Pilgrimage Trust.

The family want to raise money to thank the York branch of the charity which helped them through difficult times after Ruby’s death, following a collision with a lorry on a cycle track near York Racecourse in 2008.

HCPT took Ruby’s sister, Pearl, who has Down’s Syndrome, on a pilgrimage holiday to Lourdes which Al says was invaluable help at a time when the family were trying to come to terms with Ruby’s death.

“She (Pearl) was 17 and it was a time in her life when she would benefit from it. The family was in a state, we were all over the place. Pearl is very jolly, and I think she felt she had to be cheerful about everything.

“She went away on a really nice break and one she needed, with people who were giving her lots of love and attention, kindness and warmth. It gave her a bit of independence, and also lots of fun,” said Al.

Al believes the charity, which is for people “of all faiths and none”, helped ease the pain for the whole family by helping both Pearl, who is now 21 and an art student at York College, and her sister, Bonnie, 18, who later volunteered and went on the pilgrimage as a helper.

Al hopes to raise enough money from the walk for other disabled and disadvantaged people to be able to go on a similar HCPT holiday and she and Bonnie are planning to go too as volunteers as support for the charity.

She has enlisted the support of, Max, 19, and Olmo, 17, for the walk to Staithes, where she and her husband Dave, a psychiatrist, are restoring a run-down chapel, and where she runs the Staithes Art Gallery.

They are a family that believes in long walks. Ten years ago, with Ruby, they walked the Camino de Santiago de Compostela, a medieval pilgrimage across the North of Spain, and since then they have walked St Cuthbert’s Way and to Holy Island, been up Snowdon, along the Llyn Peninsula, and from Beverley Minster to York Minster.

Al and her sons are looking forward to the walk in early March and agree it will be a good chance to get together, have fun, long chats and to get rid of the stresses of everyday life.

Al said she wants to thank the people from HCPT who helped her family.

She said: “Ruby’s death made changes that will never go away.

“But I am finding healing comes in small pieces. Little things come that are a bit easing, balming. Pearl going to Lourdes for the first time – seeing that happen helped us.”

• To sponsor the family go to: www.justgiving.com/alilouyamilnes

HCPT Trust offers pilgrimage holidays to disabled and disadvantaged people from all backgrounds: www.hcpt.org.uk

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