Meet the schoolboy inspired by Extinction Rebellion who is walking 200 miles from Yorkshire to Westminster to lobby ministers about climate change

While most 11-year-olds will spend their summer holidays this year playing with friends and spending time with families, one schoolboy from West Yorkshire has very different plans.

Sunday, 11th July 2021, 6:00 am
Jude Walker is planning to walk from Hebden Bridge to Westminster to raise awareness of a petition calling for taxes on companies emitting greenhouse gases
Jude Walker is planning to walk from Hebden Bridge to Westminster to raise awareness of a petition calling for taxes on companies emitting greenhouse gases

Aptly-named Jude Walker has mapped out a route to hike from the cobbles and canal towpaths of Hebden Bridge to the towering buildings of Westminster.

Although only finishing his time at junior school this month, 11-year-old Jude has spent recent weeks undergoing ten-mile training walks and sending letters to dozens of MPs whose constituencies he plans to walk through on the ambitious challenge.

Halifax Labour MP Holly Lynch is one of several MPs who replied to his letters, and has told him she would meet him at the start of his walk on Sunday, July 25.

Jude Walker is planning to walk from Hebden Bridge to Westminster to raise awareness of a petition calling for taxes on companies emitting greenhouse gases

Inspired by the climate activist group Extinction Rebellion, the youngster is carrying out the 200-mile journey, set to span over three weeks, in a bid to draw attention to a national campaign lobbying the Government to introduce harsher taxes on corporations who emit the most greenhouse gases.

The so-called carbon tax would tax companies based on the amount of CO2 or other greenhouse gases emitted – with more charged for the more they emit.

Jude's mother Sarah Courtney said she had "tried to put him off the idea" hoped the ten-mile practice walks may make her son change his mind, but that ultimately he had his heart set on the idea and that "nothing was going to change his mind".

Jude Walker is planning to walk from Hebden Bridge to Westminster to raise awareness of a petition calling for taxes on companies emitting greenhouse gases

"I am very proud of his determination," she said.

"We suggested waiting until he was a bit older, but he was adamant that the climate emergency was something which 'wouldn't wait'.

"He planned the route out and everything and after he still seemed very set on the idea after a day-long training walk, I think it dawned on us that, 'wow - so we are actually doing this!'

"Jude has always been a big reader and when he read Extinction Rebellion's book [This Is Not A Drill] he set his heart on something something that would have a big impact.

"When he saw this petition he decided he really wanted to bring awareness to it, but anything with a meaningful impact would have to be done in a bigger city – so as we only live in a small town, he decided to walk to one instead."

Jude will be joined by Sarah's partner and his other mother Tamsin Walker, 40, for part of the route while family and friends will accompany him on other parts.

Ms Courtney, 55, said she was currently recovering from knee surgery and could not join her son for most of the walking.

"We've told him that he will probably get quite emotional and that this is a huge challenge he has put on himself, so that it's okay if he doesn't quite finish it," she added.

"He just wants to see the petition reach 100,000 signatures so that it is discussed in Parliament."