The 2018 Haven Sponsored Walk

Anxious times for Haven committee members as our supporters are stranded in the Surrey Hills

The morning of Sunday 15th April saw the balmy days of early Spring disappear, replaced with grey skies and a fierce wind. The glorious view that everyone appreciates when they arrive at Newlands Corner,  “An Area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty”, was just an inky blot on the landscape. This bone-chilling weather at the top of the North Downs did nothing to warm the spirits or ease the worries of the Haven committee: was it all a precursor for things to come?

We had good reason to be worried: we had overreached ourselves at our January medical camps where a record number of eight camps were held in one day. Consequently, we had the largest number of referral cases to pay for in Haven’s history.

We needed help and the only people we could turn to were our friends and supporters, who have always been loyal, supporting Haven’s vision. The appeal that had been sent out prior to this year’s sponsored walk spelt out the fundraising total of £10,000 that needed to be met. We knew we were asking a lot.

The bleak weather and our intimidating target combined to turn our usual, fun-filled, organised event into one of complete disorder! The 80 strong team of walkers that set off soon became a scattering of several straggling, smaller groups. As the walk progressed, more and more people were separated from one another. In fact, it was so disjointed that many did not find our midway point for the coffee break!

For those that did manage to navigate there, the warming drinks were a welcoming refresh. But it was tinged with worry, for the many walkers who were missing somewhere along the way.

The finale, normally full of smiles and contentment morphed into a rescue mission with emergency car journeys to pick up the lost and stranded, who might have walked further than usual! The delay meant that many brave walkers had to leave without even trying the Kolkata style Kathi Roll snacks, rolled specially for them that morning.

So how did it all end? Well, our core group of supporters patiently remained until all the other cold, weary and disorientated walkers had been rescued. The picnic finale of sorts did take place and there was even hot coffee left over to warm our lost sheep, so to speak!

With the huge fundraising target in mind, Haven had, for the very first time, put out a pot for contributions towards all the refreshments. This pot turned out to be a rather pathetic affair in the face of our supporters’ generosity and we had to hastily find a much bigger box. There were so many contributions that we were overwhelmed with the response after such an intrepid affair.

Despite all the difficulties faced in this year’s sponsored walk, the Haven committee witnessed the spirit and resilience of our supporters. Each and every one came forward at the end with their donations, almost like a parting gift. Those who couldn’t attend the walk had taken our appeal to heart and had already sent through their contributions.

Thanks to the support from our loyal friends and supporters, we reached our target of £10,000. The Haven committee, with all worries now forgotten, could only stand back in awe at this fabulous outcome, miraculous even when you take into account what a pandemonium this year’s sponsored walk had been.

All the 67 referred cases have now been completed and the patients are living pain free, healthy lives each with a newfound future to look forward to.

Our grateful thanks to everyone for their generosity and kindness. Haven can only continue its work on the ground in rural West Bengal because of your unwavering support.

More images

Donate to HAVEN

To give a helping hand

Donate »