On Sunday 19 September, 17 plucky participants took part in a 26.2 mile walk around Tonbridge and its surrounding villages, which was part of the very first Walk Tonbridge Festival, supported by CooperBurnett LLP. In addition to a team from CooperBurnett, there were teams from accountancy firms Crowe UK and Sargeant Partnership, as well as ‘Tonbridge Mums’.
"It takes one person to make a difference in this world and, with the Walking Marathon, we had an army of people making a huge difference,” says Victoria Sampson, Partner at CooperBurnett. “Gargantuan respect and thanks to all those who took part; completing those 26 plus miles wasn’t easy at all. Thanks also to everyone who volunteered to make the event such a success particularly, of course, James and Paula from Walk Tonbridge.”
Sustain, the Tonbridge community foodbank – the Festival’s chosen charity – is based at Tonbridge Baptist Church. The Walking Marathon teams set off from the church at 7.15am– after enjoying a hearty breakfast of bacon rolls – and finished at Tonbridge Castle in the (very) late afternoon.
The walk involved check points at a variety of local pubs – including The Chaser at Shipbourne, The Plough Inn at Leigh and The Poacher and Partridge in Tudeley. The Bell Inn at Golden Green hosted the lunchtime stop, where participants were entertained with live music from Tom Carradine from ‘Carradine’s Cockney Sing-A-Long’. In the afternoon, tea and cakes, were provided by wonderful hosts, Anne and Mark, at the pop-up ‘Orchard Tearooms’ in Hildenborough.
The foodbank, Sustain, provides emergency food supplies to local people experiencing a short-term need. It relies on donated items from generous local people, schools and businesses. However, the current need exceeds the supply of donated items and it also needs vital funds.
Each week since March 2020, Sustain has provided an average of 60 emergency food parcels. A family parcel costs £50 and an individual parcel costs £25 to put together, a total cost of between £1,000 – £1,500 each week. Any donations go towards ensuring the foodbank can continue to provide emergency food at this time.
Walk Tonbridge Festival – hailed as a ‘celebration of walking, Tonbridge, community and countryside’ has been organised by local man James Pavlou. He launched Walk Tonbridge during lockdown, which began as a blog where he listed his walks and encouraged residents to enjoy Tonbridge and the surrounding countryside on foot. The Festival included a variety of events and walks, ranging from photography and military history walks to an introduction to Nordic walking and a chance to discover more about Jane Austen’s relatives in Tonbridge.
“We are absolutely thrilled that the Walking Marathon has raised so much for Sustain. I am grateful to everyone who pushed through the pain of hurting legs, feet and hips to make it over the finish line at Tonbridge Castle. Thanks to everyone who took part and volunteered,” says Joseph Oates, Partner at CooperBurnett. “Thanks also to James Pavlou from Walk Tonbridge. His hard work and inspiration really brought our community together over the past 18 months.”
You can sponsor the CooperBurnett Walking Marathon team here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/cooperburnett-llp-tunbridge-wells