Cumberland’s Sally Bancroft to lead her last Good Friday Walk

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CUMBERLAND — It’s a bittersweet pair of milestones for the Good Friday Walk, a longtime fundraiser for Habitat for Humanity.

The 30th walk will take place Friday, March 25. It will also be the last for now, with walk co-founder Sally Bancroft stepping down.

Some other iteration of the event, such as an abbreviated walk or other venue, may come along if other people wish to volunteer, but the Good Friday Walk as it’s been known since 1987 is likely to be over, Bancroft said in an interview March 3.

“No one has stepped forward to continue the planning of it, so I think it is time,” she explained. “I’ll have mixed feelings about not doing it, but 30 years seemed to be a good round figure.”

Nita Dehais, Bancroft’s co-chairwoman of the event for 15 years, has gone back to work full time, “and I think it felt like a good time for her as well,” Bancroft said.

With churches from three towns – Cumberland, North Yarmouth and Yarmouth – involved with the 20-mile walk, “it takes a village to make it happen,” she noted.

Registration for the walk, which takes place at both the Cumberland United Church of Christ, 282 Main St., and the 1st Universalist Church at 97 Main St. in Yarmouth. Participants can register and complete the walk any time from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Routes of three, five, 10, and 20 miles are available from Cumberland, but it’s only three miles if starting from Yarmouth.

Participants can log onto to fundraise. They can also pick up a brochure at town halls and libraries in Cumberland and Yarmouth, or obtain a sponsor sheet at local churches, according to Bancroft.

Sponsor sheets and money collected need to be turned in the day of the event. Those who fundraise online can fill out a sponsor sheet at the time of registration, and record their totals online.

“Each person fundraises by getting sponsors to sponsor them,” Bancroft noted, adding that while it would be good for each participant to raise at least $25, “the more each walker raises, obviously the better the walk does, so we encourage walkers to get as many sponsors as they can.”

Bancroft founded the walk with Betsy Wales, a fellow church member who’d been involved with a Good Friday walk of her own in Massachusetts. That was at a time when Habitat homes were built for $30,000, and the organization had erected only two.

Such a home today costs $120,000, and Habitat has put up 75, with families paying a monthly mortgage, as well as insurance and taxes, according to a Good Friday Walk press release.

The first walk drew 44 people, who strode through pouring rain and raised $4,400. Last year, 114 walkers raised more than $27,000. As many as 170 people have raised $38,000 in a given year.

Habitat has 1,400 local affiliates in the U.S. and more than 70 national organizations across the world. The organization has, since founded in 1976, “helped 6.8 million people improve their living conditions,” according to

Contact Dehais at 829-3071 or Bancroft at 829-3793, or email, for more information.

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

Sally Bancroft of Cumberland is stepping down after heading the Good Friday Walk fundraiser for Habitat for Humanity for three decades. The Cumberland United Church of Christ, shown behind her March 9, is among several institutions in Cumberland, North Yarmouth, and Yarmouth that are involved in the event.

A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.