Looking back at the Big Walk - Richard Tanner-Tremaine
On the 10th of September 2005, members of the congregations of St. Michael's (Southfields) and St. Stephens (Putney) walked anything from 5 to 50 miles across the South Downs in a single day! All of this in the hope of raising £50000 for 3 worthy charities as part of the MAKEPOVERTYHISTORY campaign. One of the 3 charities to benefit from the funds raised was HOPE International, UK.
Although I was not brave enough to attempt the walking on the day, I did have the good fortune of participating in one small way - as one of the check-point marshalls at the end of the 30 and 50 mile walks. Let me tell you a little bit more about The Big Walk, and some of my own experiences from that day...
MORE ABOUT MAKEPOVERTYHISTORY
- The richest 50 million people in Europe and North America have the same income as 2.7 billion poor people.
- The slice of the cake taken by 1% is the same size as that handed to the poorest 57%.
- A mere 12 percent of the world's population uses 85 percent of its water.
- In 1960, the 20% of the world's people in the richest countries had 30 times the income of the poorest 20% - in 1997, 74 times as much.
- A few hundred millionaires now own as much wealth as the world's poorest 2.5 billion people.
- Less than one per cent of what the world spent every year on weapons was needed to put every child into school by the year 2000 and yet it didn't happen.
- 20% of the population in the developed nations consume 86% of the worlds goods.
- Half the world -- nearly three billion people -- live on less than two U.S. dollars a day.
Certain of the importance of a movement such as MAKEPOVERTYHISTORY, and of the need to be participants rather than just spectators on the side lines, we decided to 'do our bit' towards making poverty history. The Big Walk was the big idea. And what a great idea it turned out to be!
We had chosen 3 projects to support, Doctors on Call for Service (DOCS), HOPE International (UK), and the Sierra Leone War Trust for Children, and had a significant amount of money, £50,000, in mind as a fund-raising total to put towards helping to alleviate poverty.
The Big Walk was organised as a sponsored walk over a variety of distances, depending on age and fitness levels of the participants:
- 5 Miles (for under 12's)
- 15 Miles
- 30 Miles
- 50 miles (for over 18's only)
More than 100 people took part in the event, from walkers, to organisers, to support crews and checkpoint marshalls, all of who did their part in making the day a great success. I would personally like to take this opportunity to commend and applaud all of the walkers for achieving what they did on the day, and to thank the organisers for the amazing job they did in getting everyone from start to finish safely.On a more personal note, I felt I should write about The Big Walk because I was lucky enough to find myself witness to the amazing spirit and camaraderie shared by all of the participants as the 30 and 50 mile teams reached the final check point.
All of the walkers were in amazingly high spirits even after walking such a long distance in a single day! One team even jogged their way into every checkpoint along the route, and their final checkpoint after 30 miles was no exception! Some teams finished long after sunset, having walked the last miles in darkness, guided only by a compass and a torch. The teamwork evident in all of the teams was nothing less than awe-inspiring.
I encourage any who are reading this to consider organising similar events for their church, school, scout troop, etc., and help raise funds for worthy charities in ways like this!
For more info and pictures on the Big Walk, see the St. Michael's and St. Stephens website by clicking here.