Sponsored walks are always a popular fund-raising activity for London-based charities. I think participants enjoy them because they give you an opportunity to see parts of the city in a different light, particularly the night walks - the Southbank at 3am is a completely different animal to the Southbank of sunny Sunday afternoons, for example. I’ve also found that on these walks Londoners tend to shed their reserve – one of those rare opportunities to get chatty with total strangers! Here are three charity walks coming up in September that you might be interested in supporting:
- Maggie’s operates 14 centres for those coping with cancer, and is running another London ‘Night Hike’ on 21 September. I lost a close family member recently after a short illness and our local cancer charity was very supportive, so I know how important their services can be. Starting at 7:30pm the Maggie’s Night Hike covers either 10 or 20 miles and, as the hike is being run in conjunction with Open House, there will be opportunities for out-of-hours visits to several of the buildings taking part in this year’s Open House Weekend along the way. There will also be a visit to Maggie’s West London centre at one point during the evening. Registration is £35 and the minimum fundraising target for each participant is £185 – last year the ‘Night Hike’ raised over £500k, enough to support a Maggie’s centre for one year. You can find out more about the event and the work of Maggie’s at their website here.
- Fight For Sight are a charity that focuses on research to combat blindness and eye diseases. They are running an appropriately named ‘Carrots Nightwalk’ on the same night as Maggie’s. Starting and finishing at the BFI IMAX cinema in Waterloo their walk will be over 6 or 11 miles. Registration is £25 with a minimum target of £125 in sponsorship. Joining walkers will be Paralympian swimmer, Chris Holmes MBE, holder of nine gold medals. More details about Fight For Sight’s ‘Carrots Nightwalk’ can be found online here.
- One for the really fit amongst us is the British Red Cross’s Thames Path Challenge. Taking walkers well beyond the confines of central London, this walk covers a gruelling 50 or 100km on 28 and 29 September. Because of the strenuous nature of this walk, nutritional advice and a training regime is provided for those planning to take part, and a team of physiotherapists will be on hand on the route, and hot meals and drinks will also be provided. It will start at Bishop’s Park in Fulham and registration is £75 for the 100km walk, £50 for the 50km walk and a minimum fundraising amount of £300 is requested. I’ve walked most of London’s Thames Path in little stretches over the years – if you decide to participate in the British Red Cross’s challenge I guarantee that you will never look at London in quite the same way again. Outside central London the riverside environment is not at all what you’re used to.
I hope you’ll consider taking part in one of these London charity walks in September – I am seriously considering helping Maggie’s if I can. I’ll post something up on the blog concerning my intentions concerning their ‘Night Hike’ very shortly.