People strolling across the South Downs on the first Sunday in June are sure of a big surprise if they encounter a band of sponsored walkers.
Among those stepping out on June 7th to raise money for the restoration of a historic waterway between West Sussex and Surrey will be a celebrity entrant.
The little star will be taking part in the Wey & Arun Canal Trust’s annual fundraising walk.
The event — called the Poddle — is the Trust’s major fundraising occasion of the year, bringing in money to pay for reviving a 23-mile canal between Pallingham in West Sussex and Shalford in Surrey.
Also on the stroll will be the Trust’s chairman, Sally Schupke, who is seeking sponsorship from members of the public.
“If people aren’t already sponsoring someone for the walk it would be fantastic if they could support Sally,” said Poddle co-ordinator Margaret Darville. “Or you can sponsor the last person to finish.”
This year’s Poddle starts and finishes at St Michael’s Church Hall in Amberley. It follows an 11-mile route across the South Downs National Park, with options to walk the whole distance or just the afternoon section. Walkers are asked to raise a minimum of just £20 a person.
People walking as a team and raising at least £200 between them can split their sponsorship between the Trust and an organisation or charity of their choice in a 50/50 offer.
“The restored canal will bring far wider benefits than just boating opportunities,” added Mrs Darvill. “It will be a green corridor that can be also be enjoyed by walkers, cyclists and wildlife enthusiasts, which is why we are keen for a wide cross-section of the public to support the Poddle participants.”
“The 50/50 offer will benefit organisations who need to raise funds such as young people’s groups. We make all the arrangements, while they can help themselves and the Canal Trust at the same time.”
To sponsor one of the walkers or to take part in the Poddle, call Mrs Darvill on 01483 894606 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Find out about the work of the canal trust at www.weyandarun.co.uk
Report and picture contributed by Rob Searle, Wey & Arun Canal Trust.