Our sponsored walks

Over the last three years our club has organised a sponsored walk along the Thanet coast to raise charitable funds.


When we stopped organising our annual boxing event at the Margate Winter Gardens (please see our separate Boxing page for information), our club had to find another event which would help raise charitable funds. Then President, Renny, had the answer. We would undertake a sponsored walk. The first year raised over £7,500 and the next over £5,300. This year we raised £2,500 So almost £15,500 over three years. We can be proud of this and we hope that we can keep at it.

The sponsored walk was again  our main fundraising event in 2021 taking place again over 2 days - 18th and 19th September 2021- along the 20 miles from Reculver Towers to Palm Bay and from Pegwell Bay to Palm Bay. Club members, their families and friends  walked along the Thanet Coastal Path to raise funds for Porchlight, The Pilgrims Hospice, Millmead Childrens Centre and our club's own Cinderella Charity Fund from which we support these and many other causes throughout the year.    

These causes matter:

Porchlight. Geoff'f story: ...'I slept in a car, on the beach, and even in public toilets' He's gone froScout to homeless.... to Portchlight worker.

Pilgrims Hospice: 'where people with a terminal illness are supported to live well in every moment - in mind and body.'

Millmead Childrens Centre '...information,advice and support to parents as ewell as integrated childcareand early learning, health services, family support and parental outreach.'

The 2021 venture

The joyous story here was of the weather which was stunning. It was also about the support which the walkers received from our small support team, particularly on the Saturday so that we were met at Minnis Bay and again at Westgate with welcome refreshments and the chance to rest and chat. And there was the pit stop (some said party) for all in the President's garden on the Sunday. 

Numbers walking and attracting sponsorship were down this year reflecting our ageing membership and the fact that many members were rightly reaquainting themselves with family and friends following the  lifting of Covid restrictions.

Tales from  2020

The first walk's fantastic fund raising was only modestedly reported on. Not so in 2020!

(Then) President Hughie's walk.

It was beautiful morning when I set off to meet up with the few fellow members who had decided to join me for my Day 1 of the Sponsored Walk which I had chosen to complete over 5/6/7 September  due to a pre-arranged holiday in the New Forest to celebrate Karen’s 60th Birthday with our family which commenced on 10th September.

Renny, Rex, Paul, Jim and I met at Millie’s in Westgate at 0845 on the Saturday and we set off to Reculver in Jim’s vehicle whilst duly wearing face coverings. We started the walk around 1000 and reached Minnis Bay around 1130 where we were met by the delightful Annie who was armed with bacon rolls and hot coffee at their beach hut (thanks very much Annie, greatly appreciated). Fed and watered, our next goal was to complete the day’s leg to Millie’s bar in Westgate which went without a hitch and was followed by refreshments at the said bar.

Day 2 saw Rex and I meet at Palm Bay Café around 0930, leaving 1 vehicle there and returning in the other to Millie’s Bar to complete the leg from there to North Foreland Lighthouse with refreshments taken at Palm Bay Café. Day 3 commenced at 0930 at Pegwell using the same vehicle plan and  driving back to the lighthouse to complete the final leg to the end at Pegwell Bay, with refreshments taken on the promenade at Dumpton gap and also a hearty lunch at a café in the Ramsgate Harbour area.

As you can probably imagine, Rex and I put the world to rights over days 2 and 3 as we ambled along the route taking in the sights of the Thanet Coast whilst waffling away to each other. More importantly though, was that it was a truly great fellowship experience to share with the other members whilst we also did our bit in supporting our chosen worthy causes.

Rex, many thanks for putting up with me over 3 consecutive days and the hard 20 miles! 

Report from S.A.M. Chair of the Club's Community Service Committee

The main event started on schedule at 10.00am on Saturday 12th. With good weather forecast we all set off with a westerly breeze helping us along the sea wall. Dodging the many weekend cyclists was a slight challenge but all very good natured. At Minnis Bay we all stopped for refreshment. Some checked in to the restaurant for a coffee but by the time it took one imagines they ate a full English or lunch! Apparently, service was extremely sluggish. The paupers meanwhile waited outside having taken their beverage in cardboard cups outside. We had a somewhat longer stop than planned.

Onwards towards Westgate-on-Sea and through West Bayand St Mildred’s Bay was delightful. The sun was out. It was warm, very warm. Many people were out enjoying the seaside and the weather but it wasn’t crowded and social distancing was no problem. At Margate Harbour a brief stop by the Turner Gallery. One or two considered dropping out BUT they didn’t. Everyone soldiered on along the promenades of Cliftonville and we became a little strung out. I was meant to be party leader, I think. Two got away from me and walked on ahead. We others followed behind. Arriving at our destination, the landmark ‘Dean’s Café’ at Palm Bay, we were still two persons short. I needed to phone Richard G. to see where he and Dorothy Reid had got to? They overshot the destination by half a mile and were at Foreness Gap!So, they walked back the half mile to join up with us. That is why I presented them both with a medal for doing ‘the extra mile’.

I think we all felt quite jaded after our ten-mile walk. It was great to spend the time together and catch up. We all miss the Rotary Meetings!

Next morning at 10.00am a new group met at Pegwell Bay. That included four walkers from the previous day. We set off at 10.00am precisely. Up past the splendid Viking Ship where I was able to direct the attention of those that listened. About ten years ago it was professionally restored. However, they (the restorers) did not have to do anything to the figurehead of a dragon at the bow. It had been remodelled exactly replicating the original when the boat was built in 1950 but in modern glass fibre. How do I know? My late father in law and friend Peter Bleach created it in 1980’s and the modern figurehead has stood the test of time these last forty years.

The group then walked around Pegwell cliffs and towards Ramsgate. Richard took us through a park that I didn’t know existed and we came out on the upper western promenade. Local knowledge pervaded and he pointed out the pop-up mini boozer that offers wonderful craft beers by the boating lake. Trust Richard to know? Onwards went the party down to Ramsgate harbour where David Mander met us. Our next heading was Broadstairs. It was another blissful day with a hot sun beating down upon the walkers. Through King George park we left Ramsgate. People were out and about enjoying the weather but responsibly so. Our unplanned refreshment stop was at The Pavilion at Viking Bay. Frank’s place was very well organised for customers and we were checked in at the gate by the gardens and shown to tables of six. You ordered at the open -air bar and they brought the drinks over on a tray. People then help themselves to the glasses or teapots. Nearly every picnic bench table was occupied and there was a nice atmosphere.

Setting off again is always a bit of a hardship and now we had the foreland in sight. The Bradstownians in the group peeled off at their respective homes as we passed close by. At Kingsgate we were down to just five walkers. David and I waited for the other three. We stood in the sunny lee of the Digby for a good 10 to 15 minutes without seeing them. So, we carried on to Foreness and then on to Palm Bay. The good Dr Diggens met us there and quite soon after the other three appeared. Rex had walked both days the full distance. Brett and Simone walked the whole day on Sunday so well done!

I would like to thank everybody that ‘did their bit’ by walking and those Rotarians who supported the Coastal Walk. I felt that a big percentage of the Club supported the event one way or the other. By the ‘other’ I mean the generosity of members and friends who contributed sponsorship monies toour good causes. In the times of pandemic, I didn’t expect to emulate last year’s huge success and I had a modest target of £2,500. This has already been exceeded.Finally, I would like to say it is all the little things that make an event happily successful. The opportunity to chat with others. The impromptu invitations when Anni B. provided bacon butties at her Minnis beach hut or afternoon tea at the Hamills. I had already mentioned the ‘extra mile’ award to Richard G and Dorothy R. The Hamills did a sort of biathlon walking and cycling. Carmel announced to me that she planned a triathlon by swimming too! I promised an award. As she swam the following day it wouldn’t count. Next year Carmel?

So that was it. My thanks to our President Hughie in putting up with my changes to original plan. Added thanks particularly to David Diggens for the liaison support and all the ferrying he did over the weekend. Finally, my thanks to all Rotarians and wives for your support for the Coastal Walk event. Not everyone is mentioned who took part. It was a Club event and the members supported it well.


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