Woking church prepares for virtual race around the world for charity

AN OPEN invitation has been made to join a mass virtual journey around the world – on foot, bicycle or scooter – in aid of the domestic abuse charity Your Sanctuary.

The project is being run by the Welcome Church in Woking and anyone can take part.

Dub and Tanya Everitt, their lodger Lisa Tulié (second left), and their children Will, Abbie and Ethan have taken up the challenge

The idea is to collectively cover 24,901 miles, the circumference of the Earth along the equator, during the lockdown.

Those taking part are using their daily exercise to add to the total, with the aim of collecting £1 per mile as they share their progress on social media.

Run the World for Your Sanctuary started after the charity, whose fundraising has been virtually wiped out by the coronavirus lockdown, approached local churches for help. This has hampered its work in supporting domestic abuse victims and running safe houses in Surrey.

Steve Petch, the Welcome Church lead pastor, said that the fundraising combined daily exercise and keeping in touch with other over the internet, which are both allowed during the lockdown.

Bev and Keziah are getting on their bike

The church has set up a Go Fund Me page where participants are posting their daily or weekly totals to be added to the grand total and sending in photos of themselves during their walk, run or ride. Some supporters are simply sending in donations.

Steve said the church strongly supported the work of Your Sanctuary, which gives refuge and counselling to women, men and children suffering domestic abuse.

“We are all in a situation we have never been in before, but very few of us are experiencing the levels of problems that the victims of abuse are suffering,” he said.

The church wanted to set up a project that people could achieve. Some participants are running or cycling many miles during their daily outings, but young children who might only be able to walk half a mile can also join in.

“I have a friend who is an airline pilot and he is working out a route that covers the maximum of land mass,” Steve added.

He felt that the initial fear and anxiety over COVID-19 had been largely replaced by a feeling of boredom and being fed-up.

“For those who haven’t been affected directly by this, here is a chance for something positive to do.”

Fiamma Pather, the Your Sanctuary CEO, said: “We are so grateful to the Welcome Church for their support. Being supported by our local community in this way means so much to us and to everybody that we help.”

The charity has asked its staff, trustees and volunteers to join in. Local businesses are taking part, including Fields Car Centre in Goldsworth Road, which has donated £100 from a 10km journey.

For more information, visit www.gofundme.com and search for “welcome-church-goes-around-the-world”.

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