Today one man and his wife start their walk to raise money for strangers many miles away.
It’s hot and it’s humid in England – the Istanbul side of warm – but that won’t stop them. As the rest of us flop in the shade they are off on their 142 mile walk. The route is from one side of the country to the other, and the aim is to raise money for those upturned by Zimbabwe’s waves of chaos.
Every penny will go to ZANE – Zimbabwe A National Emergency – the charity founded by Tom Benyon OBE to help Zimbabwe’s vulnerable, many of them elderly and destitute. It is for them, unsupported and stripped of dignity, that Tom keeps walking.
The money raised by each uncomfortable step will be stretched as far as it will go, to catch those from one end of life to the other – right from young children with clubfeet, to those whose savings, after years of service, simply evaporated.
Not even Tom can raise enough to help all of Zimbabwe’s vulnerable, but it doesn’t stop him trying … whatever his legs might say.
This year’s walk, begun as the UK starts to untether itself from Europe, is Tom’s eighth. His aim is to go from Hull to Liverpool, and the main cost, as in other years, will be in shoes, socks, hips and toenails. Most accommodation is in private homes, with a few B&Bs to fill any gaps, and midday meals will be a thousand blisters short of jolly, working lunches.
Every year the walks get tougher … not in length but in endurance. No-one can resist gravity for over seven decades without feeling its revenge. You only have to read Tom’s blog to get a sense of that.
I just hope that he and Jane reach Liverpool before they melt.
To find out more about ZANE and its work please visit the ZANE website. Once on the website, should you have the time and inclination to linger, you’ll find a bright red, sunburnt button that carries the hope and thanks of many.
A declaration of interest: I am now one of the ZANE trustees.
Copyright Georgie Knaggs & The Phraser 2017