It was a warm summers day on Sunday 23rd June 2019 when a total of nine volunteers took on the Orwell Challenge to raise funds for Friends of the Ferns. It was the intention at the outset to raise around £1,000 to support children, young people and adults with practical help and much needed support during their recovery from rape, and sexual assault.
Amongst the group was Kelvin (husband of Trustee, Julie Hastings-Smith) who, by his own admission, was feeling the impact of ‘middle age’ and wanted to improve his fitness. In the months leading up to the Challenge, he walked hundreds of miles, building up his stamina in readiness to take on the 25 mile River Orwell course. Alone he had managed to raise a staggering £785 in sponsorship. The other volunteers decided to take on the slightly more modest 19 mile course known as Fishponds Folly.
Kelvin set off at a blistering pace, which the others felt sure he could not sustain, and expected to meet him again halfway round. To their surprise, he managed to finish the longer course about an hour more quickly than they took to complete the shorter course! Great fun was had by all along the route, enjoying the refreshments provided by the Rotary Club of Ipswich East, as well as nursing the odd ache or blister. The effort was very worthwhile as the group managed to achieve a total of £2,437.39 sponsorship, every penny of which will go towards supporting victims of sexual assault.
Karin Norman-Butler, who also took part in the Challenge, wrote to all participants afterwards to thank them for giving up their time, and putting in the effort to, not only complete the walk, but also to seek sponsorship, stating that their ‘support was greatly appreciated’.