Donna Crowther is not a party animal, but she is a walker, a bell-ringer and Christian Aid supporter, and she likes a challenge, so she decided to celebrate her 50th birthday undertaking a 100-mile sponsored walk with a merry band of friends. The walk represents Donna’s personal and spiritual journey over her 50 years visiting churches in the villages in Gloucestershire and Wiltshire which have played some part in her life. At the beginning of each day prayers were said in a local church and at the end of each day bells were rung and tea supplied by another church. Donna and other walkers, mostly from St Mary’s Church Tetbury, walked the 100 miles over 9 days between 12 and 20 January. The walk stopped off at churches in Chalford, Painswick, Leckhampton, Shipton Oliffe, Northleach, Cirencester, Long Newnton and Shipton Moyne.
So far £9,000 has been raised – match funded 6:1 – which means at least £63,000 will go towards the Christian Aid project with Syrian refugees and displaced people in Iraq and Lebanon. It has been a magnificent effort by a large number of people – team leaders, bell-ringers, tea makers, cake-bakers, car drivers, generous sponsors, lift-givers, fish and chip donors, spontaneous singers, sweet sharers, encouragement givers.
The Christian Aid project helps displaced 18 to 35-year-olds in Kirkuk and Tikrit, Iraq with life skills, vocational training and to set up small businesses. In Beirut, Lebanon, Christian Aid’s partner organisation runs centres for 800 children and their parents or carers, providing education and financial support.
At the end of the walk Donna said to her fellow walkers, “I just wanted to say to you all … a massive thank you for joining in with my madness and becoming a very special part of my spiritual and physical journey through my Christian life. You should feel very, very proud of yourselves today … a truly incredible experience to remember forever. I hope you are all able to give your bodies the time they need to fully recover.”
Donations can still be made: www.justgiving.com/campaign/hundred-mile-walk .