10 of the 22 charities chosen as beneficiaries of the 2020 Saffery Rotary Walk have still received funds this year despite the Walk’s cancellation due to the coronavirus pandemic. As the Walk did not go ahead with money being raised in the traditional way, the funds have come from the generosity of registered walkers who have offered to leave their entry fee with the Walk’s committee, corporate sponsors who have honoured their commitments to the Walk, and additional donations.

In particular, travel organisation ABTA pledged £12,000 in recognition of the shortfall of funds raised due to the cancellation, reflecting their commercial links with Guernsey and their own corporate social responsibility objectives.

Peter Niven, a representative of ABTA’s Guernsey link said: “With the Walk understandably cancelled in 2020 we felt it would be important to make a one-off donation to support the various charities in Guernsey who had been due to benefit. The Walk is a fantastic event and often draws people from outside the island illustrating so well the strong links between Guernsey and the UK.” 

In total £17,500 has been given to 10 charities at a presentation evening held at Government House on the 9thSeptember. The remaining 12 charities have been added to the list of charities to receive funding from the renamed ‘20-21 Saffery Rotary Walk’, which will return to the Island’s coastal paths next year on Saturday 5th June 2021.

Organising committee chair Simon Milsted said: “This year has undoubtably had a profound impact on many local charities who have missed out on funding usually raised by community events. While the Walk was unfortunately one of those events which fell victim to the pandemic, we are extremely lucky and have been overwhelmed by the generosity of registered walkers, sponsors and ABTA. As a result, 10 of the 23 charities have been able to receive funding ahead of next year’s event.

“In addition to walkers and donors, as ever, a huge thank you goes out to our event sponsor, Saffery Champness, who have stood by us this year and met all our cancellation and preparatory costs so all money received from donors is available for charitable purposes.”

The presentation evening also recognised the efforts of His Excellency the Lieutenant-Governor Vice Admiral Sir Ian Corder, the Walk’s Patron, and three Lieutenant-Governor’s Cadets, Jacob Brady, Emily Snell and Jack Vaudin, who walked the route immediately after lockdown was lifted.

Sir Ian emphasised, “Yet again we see in the Saffery Rotary Walk the immense power of our island community working together in mutual support at a time of crisis and disappointment. I was very pleased to be asked to undertake the walk as a symbolic gesture of all that was going on behind the scenes in response to the cancelation of the full walk and to pay tribute to those whose efforts and support have had to be put on hold due to the coronavirus.”

Lisa Vizia, director at Saffery Champness and member of the organising committee, said: “His Excellency’s gesture to complete the Walk accompanied by three cadets was a fantastic way to keep the Walk alive. We also had several individuals and small groups who took it upon themselves to walk the 39-mile route this Summer, letting us know of their efforts via social media, demonstrating the brilliant community spirit that the Walk fosters each year.

“We would like to thank all those whose generosity has meant that 10 of the charities have been able to collect funding this year. We are very excited for the 20-21 Walk, and plan to make it extra special for all those who have missed out this year.”