Trail-blazers aid Camp Sim­cha

The Jewish Chronicle - - COMMUNITY NEWS - BY JC RE­PORTER

CAMP SIM­CHA chief ex­ec­u­tive Neville Gold­schnei­der fol­lowed in the foot­steps of a close rel­a­tive when join­ing sup­port­ers and ben­e­fi­cia­ries of the char­ity on a trek across the his­toric Coastal Free­dom Trail, which raised £70,000.

The 72-kilo­me­tre route was one of the most trav­elled across the Pyrenees by those flee­ing the Nazis.

Among the many who did was Joseph Se­gal, Mr Gold­schnei­der’s father-in-law, who died three years ago.

Start­ing at Col­lioure in France and cov­er­ing steep and rocky ter­rain, the group trekked to Cap de Creus in Spain, vis­it­ing war memo­ri­als along the route.

“Although I trained for it, noth­ing pre­pared me for the ter­rain we were cov­er­ing,” Mr Gold­schnei­der re­flected. “Seven to eight hours of walk­ing each day in 30-de­gree heat and clam­ber­ing up and down over rocks. But the ca­ma­raderie was fan­tas­tic, as was the scenery. We strug­gled at points de­spite hav­ing all the right gear and sup­port. It re­ally brought home the im­mense jour­ney my father-in-law and so many oth­ers made.”

He added that the group’s “mi­nor suf­fer­ing” paled in com­par­i­son to the is­sues con­fronting clients of Camp Sim­cha, which as­sists fam­i­lies of chil­dren with se­ri­ous ill­ness.

“While we were away, our ser­vices team were pro­vid­ing emer­gency sup­port for one fam­ily deal­ing with a par­tic­u­larly tragic sit­u­a­tion. I shared with the group some as­pects of the sup­port we were putting in place for all the fam­ily, sup­port which is pos­si­ble be­cause of the funds they were rais­ing.”

Other par­tic­i­pants in­cluded Rina Stim­ler and her daugh­ter Batya, 22, who were helped by the char­ity when Mrs Stim­ler’s son Pini was di­ag­nosed with leukaemia 16 years ago. Since Pini’s re­cov­ery, the fam­ily has been heav­ily in­volved in help­ing the char­ity.

Mrs Stim­ler felt the trip was a metaphor for Camp Sim­cha’s work. “There were peo­ple from all walks of life and all de­grees of re­li­gious ob­ser­vance.

“Fol­low­ing the trail dur­ing the war, peo­ple en­dured ter­ri­ble hard­ship. But then they crossed the border to free­dom. It felt like Camp Sim­cha tak­ing peo­ple from a dark place into the light.

“It was won­der­ful to do this with Batya, who, as a child, was very af­fected by Pini’s ill­ness. Now my other daugh­ter Ariella has started vol­un­teer­ing at Keshet, Camp Sim­cha’s sum­mer day scheme.”

A team group from the trek, Neville Gold­schnei­der and Rina Stim­ler

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