Thursday, 20 June 2019

Women in 15-mile Thames path walk for water charity

Women in 15-mile Thames path walk for water charity

TEN women walked almost 15 miles along the River Thames while carrying a 20lb jerry can full of water for charity.

The group, most of whom work at the Albert Fields hair salon in Goring high street, undertook the sponsored challenge to raise awareness of poor sanitation in developing countries.

Their efforts raised more than £2,000 for Charity: Water, which digs clean wells in rural African and Asian communities and teaches villagers how to maintain and repair them.

The women set off from Goring and finished at Coppa Club, near Sonning Lock, just over five hours later. They walked through Goring village centre and along Gatehampton Road before joining the Thames Path and heading east to Whitchurch through Hartslock Wood. They crossed Whitchurch Bridge into Pangbourne and continued via Purley and Caversham.

They took turns to carry the jerry can, which weighed 20kg, with some of the women using a baby harness to hold it.

The challenge was organised by Kate Botcherby, 24, who is an apprentice at the salon.

She came up with the idea as Aveda, which supplies the salon’s products, was encouraging stylists across the country to take part in fund-raising activities for the charity.

She was joined by Sarah Collins, who owns the business, colleagues Natalie Green, Ana Davies, Amanda Prior, Dienna Langham, Amanda Dekic, Lee Payne, Ashley White and Miss White’s mother Suzie Carr.

Miss Botcherby, of Northfield End, Henley, said: “I thought it was appropriate because we often see imagery of women and children carrying water and it’s often said the best way to understand someone else’s life is to walk a mile in their shoes.

“We each carried the water for a mile and then towards the end we split it up depending on who was feeling up to it.

“We’re all of different ages and fitness levels so we supported each other and nobody had to carry it any longer than they felt capable of doing.

“The hill through Hartslock Wood was pretty brutal so we’re very grateful to Sarah for carrying it through that bit. She said she wanted to and had prepared for it.

“The weather was fairly sunny and we didn’t have any rain, although it became overcast when we got into Reading and towards the end it was definitely a case of just keeping going.

“Overall, there was a lovely atmosphere. We work together every day and it can get stressful but being outside and doing something we all believed in was really enjoyable.

“We were all joking, cheering each other on and making sure nobody was left behind.

“It was very different from being at work because the usual hierarchy didn’t apply and we were all in it together.

“Our manager Zunee Adwar had booked us a table at Coppa Club and we were absolutely starving when we arrived. We all ate loads then headed off as we were desperate to have a bath!

“We did fantastically with the fund-raising as we only expected to raise £1,500 but people have been incredibly generous and we’re really thankful for their support.

“Not only have our friends and family clubbed together to support us, but also our clients. We bumped into a few of them walking their dogs and they were all encouraging us.”

Every penny will go towards Charity: Water’s frontline work as its running costs are covered by private supporters.

The money will provide enough water for more than 100 people. Without the charity’s help, many communities have no choice but to drink from water supplies contaminated with diseases that can prove fatal.

Miss Botcherby said: “It’s not just about the water but the opportunities it unlocks in terms of education, health and gender equality.

“It will enable those people to do so much more with their lives than might otherwise be the case.

“We did discuss another challenge and would like to continue our fund-raising but it would have to be for the right charity.

“We were thinking of something involving cycling but we’ll have to wait and see — it would have to be something worth getting blisters for!”

To sponsor the group, visit

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