Community Service/ Billericay Fun Walk

A great day supporting the Billericay Fun Walk and raising money for Charity

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Fun Walk at Barleylands

The Rotary Club of Billericay participated in the Fun Walk for the first time this year, with Rotarian Roger Kettle leading the charge as our sponsored walker, and club Member Peter Greene helping out as a marshall along the route.

The Fun Walk started in 2002 to commemorate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee, when it raised over £6,000 for six charities and projects.  Last year, it raised £100,000 for 110 good causes, bringing the total raised since its inception to £636,000.  The event starts at 12pm, with the walk begining at 1pm. There are two walks - the first is a three mile circular route around Cray’s Hill (including a couple of stiles). The second is much shorter within Barleylands Farm—suitable for toddlers, those with pushchairs, the elderly and disabled.  There is music, a guest appearance by Gateway 97.8 who broadcast on the day from the Fun Walk field, a BBQ courtesy of “Team Handsome”, plenty of other refreshments and a large field full of stalls - the aim being to raise awareness as well as money.

The unique feature of The Fun Walk is a “bonus pot” donated by generous local businesses and individuals. In 2014, for every £100 raised in sponsorship by the walkers, a further £60 was added by the bonus pot.

Marshalls had to assemble on site by 11.30 where they received their instructions and were allocated to the various marshalling points along the route.  Peter was assigned to a position on Church Lane, Crays Hill, where a stile on a (very) narrow path between the brambles linked the footpath through a field with Church Lane.The day was blessed with cool weather and the rain held off as hundreds of walkers assembled for the start.

Before the walk started, however, John Baron MP, who had initiated the idea in 2002, addressed the walkers and revealed “This year we have 125 charities and organisations taking part in the Fun Walk, and thanks to the generous sponsorship of many local businesses, we have collected a bonus pot of over £40,000”.  He listed the Sponsors to the applause of the walkers and arranged for a photocall with their representatives.
With the credit duly applauded, the runners were soon on their way around the two courses.

It's meant to be a "Fun" walk but some participants take it really serious, and the first walker ran past the Crays Hill checkpoint, over 40 percent of the way round the course out at Point 14, after only 10 minutes.  He was then followed by a steady stream of walkers ranging from the very young at three years old, to the old and decrepit who still managed to struggle round.  Luckily we were able to remove the central cross barrier on the stile before the walkers arrived and thus allowed some of the very young and very old participants to manage to cross it.

How did we do?  Well, Roger was amongst the first to pass Peter and finished the course amongst the first 5 percent.  Then, a well earned rest ?  No, it was off to our stall at the Billericay SummerFest where he helped to sell Balloons for a great Baloon race.

The walk was tremendous success and a privilege to help support.

Thanks to members efforts in tackling their friends and relatives to support Roger’s efforts, between them we were able to raise over £1000.

We look forward to the bonus presentation later in the year.