An A to Z of comedians will be walking their funny feet along Hadrian's Wall to raise both money and awareness for The Children and Young People's Kidney Fund based at Newcastle's Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI). Hartlepool-based comedian Nick Banks and an ever-growing list of stand-up comedians, including compere for the entire walk, Patrick Monahan, will be marching along Hadrian's Wall taking a well deserved rest each night with seven comedy gigs at different venues along the way.
With just over a week to go before the big event and with Nick and fellow comedian Tim Strange having set themselves a rather extravagant dare, to say the least, I was eager to find out all about the project.
So what was the driving force behind you organising the Ha Ha Hadrian's Wall Charity Walk and why did you choose to support the Great North Childrens Hospital?
My best friend's two year old son has been diagnosed with chronic kidney disease, and they are treating him at the Newcastle RVI. The unit has been absolutely great with my mate, little Harry and my mate's partner Louise, so this is my way of showing gratitude for all their endeavours.
You have quite the lineup of comedians. Walk us through that list, if you'll pardon the pun.
Well since we last spoke a few things have changed. Unfortunately some of the acts have had to drop out due to work commitments but we have the following headliners: Michael Redmond, Ian Cognito, Silky, Seymour Mace, Gavin Webster, Sully O'Sullivan and Pat Monahan will be MCing the whole event.
Yes, I did hear a few have unfortunately had to pull out. Fellow comedienne Abi Roberts told me she has had to pull out of the first gigs due to work but she hopes to make it for the final stretch. She had the following words for everyone going on the walk.
"This walk is going to be HARD! The only wall I've ever walked along was the school wall at primary school and that gave way."
"Even in the promo video we did for the walk I managed to give myself a small hernia and pull three major muscle groups. I had to have hot stone therapy. I did once have a pet rabbit called Hadrian but we donated him to the school and then the school burnt down. True story."
"Best of luck to everyone doing the walk and the gigs, especially my old friend Pat Monahan and to the organiser, the righteous dude that is Nick Banks. Love and much luck. Abi xx"
I also spoke to Patrick Monahan recently who said "I'll host it and whoever is on the walk will do a set, so yeah it should be good fun. It'll be nice to have a mini break, even though we'll be gigging each night. It'll still be good to get out and clear the head."
Did you choose Patrick to compere the gigs or was it something he had always planned to do with you? I know he has been involved in quite a number of charity walks before.
Pat is a mate of mine and I couldn't ask for anyone better to compere. As soon as I mentioned I had this idea he jumped straight on board and said he would love to MC the whole walk.
So what 'en route' entertainment have you got in store?
We are going to be doing seven gigs in six days, the first one being on Thursday March 28 over in Port Carlisle in Cumbria.
A comedy gig each night after many miles walking must be pretty exhausting for everyone. Will they be doing stand-up sat down? Do you think everyone is prepared for the the challenge?
I think everybody will be fine. It averages out at about 14 miles a day and we shall be setting off in the morning so it will consist of a few hours walking followed by a few hours off before the gig to give people time to sort out their blisters and what not.
Can anyone take part in the walk? Is there any way that they can raise money themselves for the charity by taking part?
If people want to come and join us for the walk they are more than welcome to but there are actually 30 comedians taking part. Should people decide to come and walk they will have to sort out their own accommodation, etc. but the more people spreading the word about what we are doing and sharing with friends, etc. the more money we will hopefully raise.
So how can people donate right now if they are unable to take part?
If people want to donate that would be great. All you need to do is pop on over to our website which is www.comedywalk2013.co.uk
And which venues have you booked for the gigs?
Well it all kicks off in Port Carlisle and I've provided you with a list of the rest of the dates below for anyone who fancies popping along for a good night's entertainment. All of the gigs are free and we'll just be asking the punters to donate generously at the end of the night.
March 28 - The Hope and Anchor Inn, Port Carlisle
March 29 - The Source Collective, Carlisle
March 30 - The Howard Arms, Brampton
March 31 - Greenhead Hotel, Greenhead
April 1 - Hadrian Hotel, Wall Village
April 2 - The Swan, Heddon on the Wall
April 3 - The Stand, Newcastle
All the gigs start at 8pm except for the gig at The Stand which starts at 5pm where doors open at 4pm. Please do come along and enjoy some great live comedy.
I have also heard that you have a few plans in store to lighten the mood while walking?
Well Howard, myself and Tim Strange have both said that if we each reach 500 followers on Twitter before the walk I will do the first day in a mankini and Tim will do it in a silver thong. Obviously it will be freezing cold and it certainly won't be a pretty sight so I apologise in advance to anyone that catches a glimpse of us. Tim reached 500 only yesterday but I am still to reach my target so please do follow me on Twitter @NickBanks15.
Also can I just thank everyone who is going to be involved. I have been truly humbled by everyone who has agreed to play a part, be it big or small, and I just hope we raise a great amount of money for the Children and Young Persons Kidney Fund at the Newcastle RVI because the guys there are doing a fantastic job, not just for my mates son, but for all the kids that go there with kidney problems.
The Paediatric Nephrology unit at the Great North Children's Hospital treats in excess of 1800 children per year, with referrals from all over the North East of England as well as Berwick, Cumbria and North Yorkshire.
The Children and Young People's Kidney Fund supports the unit by raising money for new and innovative medical equipment, enhanced staff training, research projects and patient entertainment and activities, including treats for the children at Christmas. The fund is administered by the Newcastle Healthcare Charity (Reg No 502473), one of two official charities supporting the endeavours of Newcastle's hospitals.
Apart from the website there is also a Facebook page where you can keep up to date with the Charity Walk.
We wish Nick and all of his comedian colleagues the best of luck with the project and ask you all to dig deep and make whatever donation you can for such a worthy cause.