Church members raise thousands to aid domestic abuse charity

WELCOME Church has raised almost £32,500 for the Woking domestic abuse charity YourSanctuary in a huge fundraising effort involving hundreds of people.

Leah Kapotwe with her sons Miloh, Chase and Jiyah

Towards the beginning of the coronavirus lockdown, the church asked the whole congregation to cover the circumference of the Earth jointly during their daily exercise and raise £1 per mile, giving a target of £24,901.

Over the following weeks, 326 people have been walking, running, cycling, skating, scooting around Woking, and asked friends and relatives to sponsor them. Those taking part ranged from accomplished runners and cyclists to babies being carried in backpacks or pushchairs and a 79-year-old woman who walked a few hundred yards using a walking aid.

Jo and Ryan McCormick and their children

The Around the World Challenge expanded into other activities with three members of the church having their hair cut by their children. These included two church leaders; Dub, whose hair was cut by Will, 7, and Abbie, 9, and Mike whose children are Jimmy, 12, Beth, 15, and Aimee, 17. The third brave volunteer was Suzanne, 71, who had had the same hair style for more than 30 years.

Those involved in the exercise challenge covered more than the circumference of the Earth, managing a total of 31,634 miles and, together with the other fundraisers, exceeded the donation target by nearly £7,600.

Steve Petch, Lead Pastor at Welcome Church said: “YourSanctuary is a great charity that works closely with the survivors of domestic abuse in Woking.

Mike Reid with the hairstyle chosen by his 12-year-old son

“During this difficult period of lockdown we have seen instances of domestic abuse increase significantly across our town and our nation, whilst the funding available to charities that are doing this vital work has dropped considerably.

“At Welcome Church, we decided we could do something to help, whilst having fun and encouraging everyone to do their daily lockdown exercise.”

In a thank you video to Welcome Church, Fiamma Pather, CEO of YourSanctuary said: “When we heard of Welcome Church’s idea for Around the World challenge to fund raise for us, we were so grateful that our local community had run around to help us.

“The fact that the target has been exceeded is an unbelievable achievement for everybody who took part and everybody who donated. It means all the more to us because it has been raised by all of you so we can help those in our community who are experiencing abuse.”

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