ONE of the North-East’s leading motor dealers is the latest high-profile business to back a new charity aiming to tackle physical and mental health through the power of walking and talking.

SG Petch Darlington has joined The Big Smile, a pioneering initiative involving 50 fully guided walks across the stunning countryside of the north, with proceeds being used to supply free pairs of walking boots to thousands of children and disadvantaged adults.

The motor company has not only agreed to sponsor the 45th walk at Roseberry Topping, but has provided a branded Fiat Ducato van as a support vehicle for the charity to use throughout the summer while the walks are taking place across five counties.

In addition, SG Petch has donated a Kia Stinger GTS sports car for a month as the prize for a draw in which everyone who registers for one of the walks will be automatically entered. The draw will take place at the end of the final walk in and around Durham on August 27.

Craig Saunders, General Manager of SG Petch Darlington, said: “The Big Smile is such a fantastic cause, and it was a natural fit for us to want to be involved. Mental health is such an important issue, and this is our way of playing a small part in a big initiative. We are delighted to have been able to help, not just financially, but in a practical way too.”

Geoff Simpson, chief executive of The Walk & Talk Trust, which is staging The Big Smile, said: “We are delighted with the way businesses have embraced the campaign, and we are so grateful to SG Petch Darlington for their generous support and enthusiasm.

“The support van will be a godsend in moving equipment around the countryside during the summer, and the sports car will be a cracking bonus for one of our participants to enjoy at the end.”

The first of the walks takes place from Raby Castle on June 21. Other businesses and organisations that are supporting the campaign include: the world’s biggest sports retailer, Decathlon; Greggs; Eversheds Sutherland; New College Durham; North East England Chamber of Commerce; Durham County Council; County Durham Sport; Banks Group, and North Star Housing Group.

Opportunities for stage sponsorship are available for £500. Supporters of charity partners can also opt for 50 per cent of the funds they raise to go straight to their own charity.

There is no registration fee for individuals taking part, and the minimum fundraising target is £99.

  • Anyone wishing to get involved should contact Geoff Simpson on 07730 911777 or email
  • To find out more, go to