We’re no fair-weather fundraisers!
Storm Alex didn’t stop the inaugural Bath Marches as walkers marched up Bath’s hills in aid of charity.
Marchers, aged from nine to 75 and from as far afield as Torquay, Warwick and Farnborough, stepped out on Saturday.
There were some adaptations due to Covid-19, including a low-key start and finish, a maximum of six in a group and extensive social-distancing practices.
School teams also entered, having been unable to take part in their usual programmes, including the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and the Ten Tors annual challenge on Dartmoor.
The marchers tackled the summits of Solsbury Hill, Lansdown Ridge and Kelston Round Hill on either a nine- or 15-mile hike.
The event’s supported charities were The Soldiers’ Charity, The Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity and the RAF Benevolent Fund, with other good causes invited to enter walkers, too.
Charities walkers supported on the day included Citizens Advice Bath, Cystic Fibrosis Trust, Diabetes UK, Dig Deep Africa, Genesis Trust, Hounds for Heroes, Mentoring Plus, Papyrus, Dudes and Dogs, Royal British Legion and the Scouts.
The biggest marching team was supporting Mentoring Plus, who raised more than £3,500 with their march.
Jenny Perez, fundraising manager at Mentoring Plus, said: “Mentoring Plus is delighted to be taking part in Bath Marches 2020 – so many people took to walking during lockdown we hope that our local community will take part and support our work with young people.
“We know that many young people will be facing greater challenges now with the transition back to school, increased anxiety in making up for lost education and reconnecting with peer groups. Demand for our mentoring programmes will be higher now than ever and so any funds to help us reach out to our young people will be gratefully received.”
The event was supported by Bath Recreation, Triteria, MARCOM, Mardan Removals, Begbies Trainor, Fyffes bananas, DORCO razors, Woolley and Swainswick Churches and Pipley Barn.
Richard Best, organiser and chief executive of Breathing Space Activities Ltd, which includes Iconic Walking Events, said: “I’m delighted that the event went ahead and had the support of an extensive list of stakeholders, including the local landowners whose permission to march across their land has been sought.
“Life in the services often presents you with challenges and this year’s pandemic is a typical example. However, those who have served have been trained to think calmly, identify the problems, work out solutions and get the job done.
“I think the Bath Marches is a great example of that and am grateful to all those in the Marches team and beyond who have shared the vision and supported the project.”