ZANE (Zimbabwe a National Emergency): walking for the forgotten in Zimbabwe

Tom Benyon OBE, founder of the charity ZANE, outside the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King in Liverpool

Tom Benyon OBE, founder of the charity ZANE, outside the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King in Liverpool

It’s the final day of the 2017 ZANE fundraising walk. Already Tom and Jane Benyon have walked well over a hundred miles in just twelve days.

We find the couple in a pub – not slumped, but slightly crumpled… nine-miles-on-hot-pavement crumpled.

We are fresh from the car and springy. This does not last long.

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Tom Benyon OBE walks for Zimbabwe … it’s hot

June day at Stonehenge, England

This might give an idea of how hot it is – Stonehenge, England

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.

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African charity ZANE founder returns from visit to Zimbabwe

Rest point on a ZANE fundraising walk

Rest point on a ZANE fundraising walk

Tom Benyon OBE has returned from a trip to Zimbabwe where he met many of those who work for, and who support, the charity he founded –  ZANE (Zimbabwe a National Emergency).

He describes his recent trip as mixture of sadness and joy.

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African charity ZANE: Tom Benyon OBE and his team set off again to raise money

Ambleside - Adrian Warren & Dae Sasitorn/www.lastrefuge.co.uk

Ambleside – Adrian Warren & Dae Sasitorn/www.lastrefuge.co.uk

(March 2015: Relaunch of a piece about ZANE’s 2014 walk.)

Tom Benyon OBE has decided it’s the perfect time to strike out on another walk to raise money for the charity ZANE (Zimbabwe a National Emergency).

England is all sunshine and has been for a while.  Half the population is draped across greenery under the nearest available sunbeam.

It’s the sensible thing to do … unless you’re Tom.

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African charity ZANE: They’ve done it …. again!

The Benyons

Tom Benyon OBE, his wife Jane, and dog, Dinah arrive at the Martyrs Memorial in Oxford

(March 2015: Relaunch of a piece about the end of ZANE’s 2014 walk.)

Tom Benyon OBE, his wife Jane, and their young dog Dinah have covered between them over 260 miles in 22 days to raise money for ZANE (Zimbabwe a National Emergency).

I have not.

Clothes lifeless, feet blistered, head blurred, sense of humour evaporated, I climb the last few steps of the Martyrs’ Memorial in Oxford …

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African charity ZANE: fundraisers reach end of their walk in Oxford

 

Tom Benyon OBE (ZANE), his wife Jane and their dog Leah, reach the end of their 2013 fundraising walk for  ZANE

Tom Benyon OBE (ZANE), his wife Jane and their dog Leah, reach the end of their 2013 fundraising walk for ZANE

(March 2015: Relaunch of a piece about the end of  ZANE’s 2013 walk.)

He hit the finish at pace.  Tom Benyon OBE, his wife Jane and dog Leah strode the final mile to the Martyrs’ Memorial in Oxford  in full sunshine and right on schedule.

They had covered well over two hundred and fifty miles on foot from Holyhead to Oxford and they had raised, again, thousands of pounds for the bereft in Zimbabwe.

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African charity ZANE: Tom Benyon OBE has fundraising walk planned

Tom Benyon OBE and his wife Jane on the last day of their walk from York to Canterbury 2012

Tom Benyon OBE and his wife Jane on the last day of their walk from York to Canterbury 2012

(March 2015: Relaunch of a piece about plans for ZANE’s 2013 walk.)

Help! He’s at it again – Tom Benyon OBE, a man in his prime, is about to set off on another charity walk.

The route, programmed to take less than a month, is Holyhead to Oxford – just under 280 miles.

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