In our small town and outlying villages, as in many round the world, there are good people. People on a mission, people whose aim is not just random acts of kindness, but a long term force for good. This is not grandiose. They work for the good of their community and incidentally, almost by default, for the larger world. Perhaps a long winded way of saying these are people with vision: a vision of life and a vision of the world. Surely every act impinges one on another? One person’s gentle ministrations influence another’s as surely as one person’s violence or unkindness. But I am thinking more of leaders of men, instigators. In fact, I am thinking of Stan.
In the few years we have lived here, quietly adjusting from city to country life, a 20 mile sponsored walk in aid of Barnados has been an annual event. A sucker for such walks since school days. The walk is in its 20th year and has raised in excess of £200,000, thanks to Stan and a whole team of volunteers who make cakes for rest stations, marshal, lead , offer first aid, do the paper work. It started with 27 people. This year, a bumper year, 230 took part.
The walk’s fame is spreading; a tough walk, no amble along a canal tow path, but serious hill and mountain walking in and around the Rhinogs in Snowdonia National Park. It is also family friendly, designed to custom fit all takers. Every five miles or so a rescue station offers a lift back to the start point ( as well as cakes and tea.) This year there was the option to short cut the serious mountain climb, the more challenging challenge, (which I opted for but Sunny boy didn’t), thereby losing the hardest five miles but still giving the walker a stiff, satisfying 15 miler.
Many locals walk too, those who aren’t manning the stations, whose ordinary day jobs, plumbers, builders, waitresses, hoteliers, run the town, alongside their role in the voluntary community: mountain rescuer, lifeboatman (person), first responder.
An evening of jollity follows: a meal and an opportunity for more fundraising – a raffle; a shove a pound coin along the floor towards a bottle of whiskey ( donated) to see who gets the closest competition. Nice to see faces rosy from a day of exertion outdoors in wind and sun (no rain this year)