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Businessman Joins Coach Who Inspired Him on Long Walk Home Charity Challenge

A Midlands businessman is not just talking the talk, he’s walking the walk once again by putting his best foot forward on a 40-mile one-day walk for charity.

Kyle Raffo, owner of Tamworth-based printing and merchandising firm, Embello, is joining Mark Tonks and a team of business people from the area to take on The Long Walk Home on April 30.

It follows a 40-mile route from the Stoke Royal University Hospital to the Crown Pub in Four Oaks, near Mark’s home.

Mark, who is managing director of Orange and Blue UK, providing high performance coaching in leadership and life, started the Long Walk Home in 2016, one year after suffering a serious heart attack and having a triple heart bypass at the hospital.

As he lay recovering in his hospital bed, Mark wondered how long it would take him to walk home, and so he set himself the challenge of undertaking that walk 12 months to the day of his discharge.

Since then, Mark and supporters have completed the Long Walk Home five times, raising over £50,000 for different charities in the area.

This year’s appeal aims to raise a further £10,000 for the Buddy Bag Foundation, which provides bags of essentials for children who find themselves in emergency care after fleeing violence in the home.

The latest in a series of fundraising initiatives for Embello

Kyle was inspired to join this year’s walk after benefitting from Mark’s leadership coaching.

He said: “I met Mark many years ago at a business networking event and in recent years, he’s been a leadership coach of mine and has had a huge impact on helping me grow personally. I’ve seen Mark’s previous events and have always wanted to lend my support, so this year, I’m doing just that.

“As well as raising money for the valuable work of the Buddy Bag Foundation, getting involved is also about giving back to Mark and saying thank you for all his support over the years. I also fancied something different to climbing mountains for a change!”

Kyle’s company, Embello, is also sponsoring this year’s event through the donation of sponsored team clothing for the 12 walkers.

Both Kyle and Embello have been keen supporters of charity since he founded the business in his bedroom at the age of 17. Ten years later and the company has recently moved from its previous unit to much larger premises, where it is producing up to 100,000 items of branding and printed merchandise to send across the UK every week.

The Long Walk Home fundraiser follows from a recent Embello donation of £10,000 worth of marketing and branding services to Help Harry Help Others charity and Kyle’s personal Mont Blanc climbing challenge for Tamworth charity Help Us Help Others.

The 2023 Long Walk Home sets off from Stoke University Hospital on April 30 and passes through Stone, Rugeley and Lichfield to Four Oaks. The team are hoping to complete the route in 12-14 hours.

Mark said: “We aim to raise £10k and would be most grateful for everyone who could gift even a small amount. It’s a tough walk, trust me, I’ve done it five times before, but every painful step is made a lot easier knowing your efforts can help give a young person a new start in life.”

Donations can be made via Just Giving.

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Kyle Raffo from Embello preparing to walk the walk

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