Rotary Club Of Preston South members have demonstrated their determination and commitment to supporting St Catherine’s Hospice during the pandemic, by taking on a gruelling charity challenge.
Members set themselves a target of walking as many miles as possible throughout two weeks in October. They trekked 2,088 miles overall and raised more than £7,800.
Vice President of the club, Howard Moorby, said: “As the country went into lockdown in March, we had to consider alternative, innovative ways to continue to achieve Rotary’s mission, and to continue fundraising in a safe way.
“We had Zoom meetings which allowed us to maintain the Rotary spirit and camaraderie, although it soon became clear that the ‘glue’ that encourages Rotary friendship – being able to work as a team for the benefit of the community – was missing. Past President Norman Yates suggested we do a sponsored walk and so the challenge was set for us to walk a combined 1,750 miles – the distance from Preston to the Algarve in Portugal; a popular holiday spot among members.
“The take-up and enthusiasm from our members, aged from mid-fifties to over eighties, was phenomenal. It raised morale and in the end we walked a total of 2,088!
“Twenty-eight members took part and walks ranged from daily strolls around the block (Sir Tom style) to ascending walks in the Lakeland hills, interspersed with an array of coastal walks, country lanes and bridal paths.
“People found the challenge more difficult than anticipated, both physically and mentally, but also very rewarding. There was a lot of banter and encouragement through social media, and each day we were humbled and overwhelmed by the generous support and well wishes posted on our JustGiving page, which without doubt spurred us all on.”
Club President Phil Entwistle said he was extremely proud of what they’d achieved, adding: “The result of the Clubs’ combined efforts is outstanding – a fantastic example of what working as a team can achieve.”
Community Engagement Officer at St Catherine’s, Norman Cutler, said: “The Rotary Club Of Preston South has a longstanding involvement with St Catherine’s going back many years. Each year members hold a comedy and sportsmans’ evening to raise much-needed funds, and they were also one of the major forces and contributors towards the funding and installation of a footbridge to enhance the hospice grounds of St Catherine’s Park, for the benefit of patients and the local community.
“The sponsored walk was a brilliant idea and I’m delighted that members embraced it and enjoyed it so much. The pandemic has hit everyone hard, but it’s also encouraged us all to think a bit differently and more creatively to ensure we stay connected with one another, and to come together in new ways to help those in need.
“We’re so grateful for the funding and awareness this challenge has helped to raise for St Catherine’s at this time. With the closures of our shops and The Mill café, and the cancellation of many of our fundraising events and activities this year, this fantastic donation will really make a significant difference as we work hard to continue caring for local people affected by life-shortening illnesses.
“I’d like to say a heartfelt ‘thank you’ to the Rotary Club Of Preston South for members’ unwavering dedication and support of St Catherine’s, which means so much to us.”