Walkers put best feet forward for peace

MORE than 325 walkers, among them East Hampshire MP Damian Hinds, made great strides for good causes last weekend when they took part in a fundraising walk in Petersfield.

The three-and-a-half mile Charity Walk for Peace was organised by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Elders’ Association and East Hampshire District Council (EHDC) and gave people the chance to come together for a positive purpose.

The walk snaked in a circular route through Petersfield, taking in the town centre and other landmarks, before finishing at the district council offices at Penns Place where walkers were treated to lunch.

Nine charities have been selected as beneficiaries from the event, including FitzRoy, The Rosemary Foundation, Artscape, Challengers, HomeStart Butser, HomeStart Wey-Water, The Kings Arms, Age Concern Cowplain, and Dementia Friends.

District council leader Julie Butler said: “Last year’s walk raised £7,000 which was used to support local charities and their vital work in the district. My ambition is to raise at least £15,000 this year, although I am hoping for so much more. Every penny we raise goes straight back to the chosen charities.”

And she added: “It was amazing to see so many people turn up and sign up on the day to join us.

“We knew that more than 100 had signed up before the event. It was overwhelming to see our numbers swell so much on the day. So many came along to take part in the 2018 walk and raise even more money for these fantastic charities.

“Thank you to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Elders for their hard work in organising such a successful event. We have established a firm partnership, working together for such good causes.”

Rafi Ahmad, chairman of the Petersfield Charity Walk for Peace, said: “Throughout the year, AMEA UK sponsors a number of charity walks, and this particular walk follows immediately on from the annual charity walk held on April 29 in Windsor Great Park where 4,500 walkers gathered to support the many charities from across the UK.

“To see the brilliant turnout today in Petersfield is very heart-warming, and indeed humbling, and we look forward to raising as much money as possible for the chosen charities.”

Dr Rizwan Khan, of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Elder Association, said: “The Charity Walk for Peace epitomises our objective of serving humanity through peaceful initiatives, and this year more than ever before, we have received incredible support from across the East Hampshire from charities, community groups and organisations who share our goal.

“It really is wonderful to work for the common good of mankind, we could not ask for more.”

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Association has a strong connection to East Hampshire.

Every July, it hosts the annual Jalsa Salana, a three-day religious festival, which welcomes more than 38,000 people to East Worldham, near Alton.