A POPULAR charity walk will return in the summer after poor ground conditions at a North-East park forced organisers to postpone the event.

The North East Autism Society (NEAS) made the decision to postpone the Walk for Acceptance, which was planned for 5 April, after ‘waterlogged’ conditions at Herrington Country Park, in Sunderland, led to the closure of the overflow parking area.

“Unfortunately, we had to make the difficult decision to postpone this year’s walk, which would have taken place during World Autism Acceptance Week, but we couldn’t bury our heads in the sand and go ahead when it risked the safety and enjoyment of our walk entrants,” said Jon Appleton, Community and Events Fundraising Officer at NEAS.

“We apologise to everyone who was looking forward to taking part in the Walk for Acceptance in April, and we hope to see you in the summer when the ground has dried and the walk can return better than ever.”

Sunderland City Council advised that if the walk had gone ahead, it would have had to do so with minimal infrastructure in the park, and walkers would have had to find parking off site if hardstanding parking spaces filled up.

A spokesperson for Sunderland City Council, said: “At present there are only 120 hardstanding spaces in Herrington Country Park in total, and the large, grassed car parks will remain closed for the foreseeable future.”

For keen fundraisers still looking to get active, the North East Autism Society is holding its annual fundraising trek over 20-miles of the Cleveland Way on 11 May, and a coast-to-coast cycling challenge from Whitehaven to Roker from 24 to 25 August.

Jon said: “We’re hugely grateful to everyone who raises funds for our lifeline services, and our annual trek and cycle ride are both great ways to challenge yourself and make a difference to peoples’ lives, while taking in some of the most spectacular scenery in the region.”

Anyone who had already paid to attend the event on 5 April will be contacted directly by NEAS to discuss reimbursement.

For more information on events from the North East Autism Society, visit https://www.ne-as.org.uk/Pages/Events/Category/our-events