The third Walk Tonbridge Festival, which was supported once again by Tunbridge Wells-based law firm CooperBurnett LLP, has raised an incredible £27,242.09 for charity, with £10,057.59 heading to Sustain, the community food and fuel bank in Tonbridge, and the remainder going to charities including Prostate Cancer UK, Make Birth Better, FEAST Tonbridge and Tonbridge Athletics Club.
The funds donated to Sustain – which currently works with around 60 families a week – equates to 27 weeks of support.
As ever, the highlight of the Walk Tonbridge Festival – which included a variety of guided walks and fringe events – was the Walk Tonbridge Marathon on Sunday 24 September. This was organised by James Pavlou, founder of Walk Tonbridge, along with Katie Hilsdon from CooperBurnett. The event saw an incredible 125 participants tackle a 26.2 mile walk around Tonbridge and its surrounding villages.
“Everyone at Sustain would like to say an enormous ‘thank you’ to the Walk Tonbridge team, both the walkers and the army of volunteers who helped run such a wonderful day, as well as CooperBurnett,” says Emma Lander, Community Lead at Sustain. “The enthusiasm for the challenging walk and for supporting Sustain for three years in a row is fantastic and will enable us to continue to help those people in need in our community.”
Sustain will split the funds raised between the food bank and the fuel bank, meaning they can continue to offer people both food support in the form of food parcels and financial support in the form of energy vouchers or supermarket vouchers.
Emma adds: “We are very mindful of spending the funds in a meaningful way to best support those that are referred to us, whilst also honouring those who are so generous with their donations.”
The Walk Tonbridge Marathon set off from Tonbridge Baptist Church, where Sustain is based, and finished at Tonbridge Old Fire Station (TOFS), where walkers were rewarded with a well-earned drink and the option of some freshly baked pizza.
The walkers from CooperBurnett included Sarah Strong – who has conquered all three Walk Tonbridge Marathons – along with Gemma Gillespie, Ayla Clissold, Hannah Mashford, Clare Kelly, Oliver Bussell, Gareth Warner and Joshua Hayes. Our friendly team also invited a lady called Louise to accompany them, as her fellow walkers couldn’t take part.
“The original goal of Walk Tonbridge was to get local people to explore the surrounding countryside, whilst discovering more about our town,” says James Pavlou from Walk Tonbridge. “The Festival was an extension of that but we are absolutely delighted that it’s also raised so much for charity at the same time. We could not have done this without our event supporters CooperBurnett, TOFS, Hilden Park Chartered Accountants, Tonbridge School, Absolute Creative Print, as well as an army of friends, family and volunteers!”
Volunteers from CooperBurnett included Carla Loveday, who was there all day to encourage walkers along the 26.2 miles, as well as Natasha Smith, Natalie Lai and Imogen Fleur. A special shout-out to Katie Hilsdon’s parents Carol and Dennis, who turned out (again!) at the crack of dawn to help send the walkers safely on their way and later welcomed them to checkpoints enroute.
“We are really grateful to everyone who signed up to this challenge, including corporate teams from Crowe UK, Sargeant Partnership LLP and Creaseys and are thrilled by the amount of money raised,” says Joseph Oates, Partner, CooperBurnett. “We are proud of the contribution TeamCB makes to our community – in this case, stepping up to volunteer or walk an incredible 26.2 miles. We also have a huge amount of admiration for James Pavlou, who is an absolute star! He works so hard to make this event safe, enjoyable and successful and always has a smile on his face.”