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Bettys staff take on three million step challenge for colleague with brain tumour

Ten friends, who met through working at Bettys Bakery in Harrogate, have challenged themselves to walk three million steps in September, inspired by their colleague Dave Smith, 55 from Bradford, who was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumour in March this year.

The friends have set themselves the staggering challenge as part of Yorkshire’s Brain Tumour Charity’s ‘Step into September’ event, where supporters walk, jog, dance or climb their way towards their own step goal, to raise funds for research and patient support.

Since receiving the news that he has a grade 4 glioblastoma, Dave has been “lacking purpose and motivation”, says Gemma Pickup, 36 from Harrogate, Dave’s manager and the organiser of the challenge.

Wanting to give Dave a boost, and a way to reconnect with old friends, Gemma enlisted the help of colleagues and ex-colleagues, who all know Dave through working with him at Bettys Bakery across the past two decades, to tackle the epic walking challenge.

They’ll aim to complete most of their steps on Saturday 17th September, when they will get together to walk eight laps of Roundhay Park in Leeds. Dave came up with the idea of this 20km route to represent the 20 years the group have been friends. “Dave will do as many laps as he can and then cheer everyone else on.”

They’ll also do extra activities to increase their step counts throughout the month, such as dog walks, walking to the gym instead of driving, and getting out in nature.

Wearing Yorkshire’s Brain Tumour Charity shirts throughout the challenge, they hope to increase awareness of this devastating illness, which affects around 1000 people each year in Yorkshire, and raise at least £2,000 for the charity.

Ten people have signed up to the challenge so far, but Gemma wants the Roundhay walk to be open to anyone who would like to take part.

“We want a minimum of 3 million steps, although I have a feeling it'll be closer to 4 million.”

Not resting on her laurels, the ‘Step into September’ challenge is just one part of a massive ‘Do it for Dave, Do it for Yorkshire’ campaign planned by Gemma. The group want to take on 20 challenges in total to mark their 20 years of friendship with Dave, and the 3 million step walking challenge is just the first.

“I came up with ‘Do it for Dave, Do it for Yorkshire’ because Dave has been lacking motivation recently. Dave will have worked at Bettys for 20 years in September and we have all known him that long, so I came up with the idea of 20 challenges in 12 months to try and give him something to aim for and also a chance for people to reconnect with him and make some fun memories.

“Other challenges will include a fishing challenge (Dave's favourite hobby), a charity bootcamp, a Bake Off-style challenge, and so many more ideas. Dave’s son Caleb has also committed to swim 200 lengths of his local pool on the weekends in September.

“Dave picked YBTC because he visits the charity’s support group often and appreciates the work they do. It also seemed a perfect fit, with our place of work, Bettys, being a Yorkshire business.”

To support the team’s fundraising, go to

To find out more about Yorkshire’s Brain Tumour Charity’s Step into September event and take on your own challenge, go to


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