This year’s Saffery Rotary Walk attracted over 650 participants and is expected to raise over £50,000 in sponsorship money; both records in the walk’s history.
Even though a considerable amount of money has already been collected, organisers are still expecting more to come and are urging walkers to finish collecting their sponsorship money and to hand it in quickly to ensure the chosen charities and organisations can get started on their planned projects and initiatives.
This year the numbers rose due to the introduction of the option for relay teams to take on the challenge. Here teams of up to seven walkers took on a section of the 39 mile walk. 19 teams registered for this option, boosting the walk’s numbers by over 100 participants.
One group of 20 individuals from the UK included six participants who tackled the relay sections of the walk and 14 completed the full 39 miles. The group, which included walkers between the ages of 14 and 65, registered for the walk in memory of a family member, Simon McGrath, who had recently passed away. The group quickly became known as the ‘The Blue Headband Group’ as his daughters Harriet and Madelaine had brought blue headbands for the participants as a way of identification around the course.
Mr McGrath and his family loved the island and had spent many summer holidays in Guernsey. Harriet, said: “We had a fantastic weekend together and were overwhelmed by our friends’ support and willingness to come to Guernsey with us, join in with the walk and enjoy a good party afterwards – the part Dad would have enjoyed most.”
Another group that took on the challenge were members of the Guernsey Disability Alliance (GDA). The relay team, of around 40, included individuals with a range of disabilities and representing a number of the GDA’s member charities including Wigwam; Guernsey Deaf Children’s Society, Guernsey Down Syndrome Group, Guernsey MIND and the GSF Mental Health Fellowship, together with their supporters, including the 1st Guernsey Scouts.
Each team member chose a section of the route appropriate to their own individual abilities, including wheelchair users.
GDA executive director Karen Blanchford said: “Our aim is to make sure disabled islanders have access to the same opportunities as everyone else. We’re really grateful to the organisers for working with us to make the Saffery Rotary Walk as inclusive as possible – we had a fantastic day.”
Of the 656 walkers who took part of these 544 took on the entire walk with 450 managing to cross the finishing line.
Walkers completed the challenge in aid of 18 local charities and not-for-profit organisations, all of which operate in Guernsey and the Bailiwick.
Simon Milsted, chair of the walk’s organising committee, said: “Every year the impact that the Saffery Rotary Walk has on the local community increases, I am proud this year’s walk has been able to support 18 local community projects and has seen a record turnout of walkers. We are confident that, once we have received all of the sponsorship money, the walk will have raised enough to cover the sums requested by our chosen charities.”
Lisa Vizia, a director at Saffery Champness and member of the organising committee, said: “Supporting local community projects is central to our approach to CSR. It was great to see so many walkers take on this hard challenge this year in aid of such deserving causes and we are proud to have been part of making the event such a success.”
There will be a presentation at Government House on 27 September at 6.30 p.m. to celebrate the success of this year’s walk, where HE the Lieutenant Governor, Vice Admiral Sir Ian Corder will present awards and announce the final total of sponsorship money raised.
Sponsorship money can be paid by cheque, (made payable to Saffery Rotary Walk) or cash, sent or delivered to: Saffery Rotary Walk, La Tonnelle House, St Sampson’s, Guernsey, GY1 3HS. All walkers must enclose their sponsorship form.
Payment can also be made electronically. The bank details are: Sort code: 16-20-29; Account number: 10205090.