Patron of the Saffery Rotary Walk, His Excellency, the Lieutenant-Governor Sir Ian Corder, has independently walked the route of the 39-mile round-island challenge as a symbolic gesture of the Island’s newfound freedom from lockdown.

Sir Ian shared the huge disappointment of the organisers, volunteers and registered walkers when the decision had to be taken to cancel the event. He was therefore delighted to accept the event organisers’ invitation to walk the route on behalf of those who were unable to participate this year.

Accordingly, on Sunday [21st June] Sir Ian was up early, put on his boots, a Saffery Rotary Walk t-shirt and in the company of his son, Alex, and 3 Lieutenant-Governor’s Cadets (Jacob Brady, Emily Snell and Jack Vaudin) set out to pay tribute to those whose efforts and support have had to be put on hold due to the Coronavirus.

Sir Ian said, “The Saffery Rotary Walk is one of the great Guernsey events in our annual calendar. It is a real coming together of a large number of our community whose benefit reaches beyond those taking part to deliver tangible financial support to a wide variety of local charities. Its loss this year is felt by so many people and in many different ways.

“I was therefore very pleased when the Walk organisers suggested that, when the time was right, I ‘put on the shirt’ and complete the Walk by way of acknowledgement of what we may have lost this year – but equally to symbolize that Guernsey’s spirit is not broken by the events of recent months. I am confident that next year the Walk will return stronger and better than ever before.”

Sir Ian has taken part in the Walk every year that he has been in post here in Guernsey. The fact has not been lost on him or the organisers that, in this way, his unbroken record is maintained for another year.

Simon Milsted, the Saffery Rotary Walk’s chairman added, “His Excellency has been a huge supporter of our Walk and all that we achieve from it. It seemed only fitting that while we could not accommodate our regular walkers this year, we invite Sir Ian, to complete the Walk. It serves as a lovely reminder that, in the spirit of ‘Guernsey Together’, the Walk lives on and will be back next year. 

“While we have lost our regular walker’s sponsorship income, we have been overwhelmed that a huge majority of our registered walkers have allowed us to use their registration fee for charitable purposes. Our event sponsor, Saffery Champness, has also stood by us and met all our cancellation and preparatory costs so, as ever, all money received from walkers is available for charitable purposes. Sir Ian’s gesture is a fitting acknowledgement of everyone’s generous support. We are grateful to him that the walk will take place this year, all be it symbolically and in a markedly different form.”

Lisa Vizia, director at Saffery Champness and member of the organising committee, said: “We are grateful that His Excellency is helping us keep the spirit of the Walk alive. It has been fantastic to see individuals sharing their memories of the Walk on social media as well as those people who have completed the route off their own bat. It really captures the community feel of the event. Plans are already underway for next year’s Saffery Rotary Walk and we are hoping to make it extra special to raise as much money as possible for local charities who have been impacted by the pandemic.”

The walkers were met mid-way by Rotarian Simon Milsted, chair of our Walk Committee (far left) and Chris Russell, representing our main sponsors, Saffery Champness (far right) who thanked them for their efforts and encouraged them on to complete the course.