Banbury walkers clock up over 3,000 miles to twin towns Hennef and Ermont - and raised money for the Sunshine Centre

A plucky community of walkers has trudged a total of 3,257 miles to complete the challenge of walking to Banbury's twin towns, Hennef in Germany and Ermont in France.

Tuesday, 11th May 2021, 4:30 pm
Updated Tuesday, 11th May 2021, 4:32 pm
Supporters of the Sunshine Centre enjoy a celebratory cake at the end of the Walking Challenge

The Banburians who kept on walking took up the pandemic challenge, firstly of walking the equivalent distance from Land's End to John o' Groats and then to their European destinations, via a special map of routes in and around Banbury.

The walkers' efforts have helped to raise £1,179 for The Sunshine Centre, Bretch Hill's facility for children and families.

A celebration was held at Princess Diana Park at the end of the event to celebrate the achievements of the 25 Banburians who accepted The Sunshine Centre’s Community Walking Challenge. A final lap of Princess Diana’s Park was walked before certificates were presented and celebratory cake was enjoyed.

Juliet Dessain volunteer organiser and one of the walking fundraisers, Ian Calderbank

The Sunshine Centre originally threw down the gauntlet in February and challenged the community to collectively walk the distance from Land’s End to John O Groats using the many beautiful footpaths around Banbury.

The challenge was part of a Sport England campaign facilitated by Sanctuary Homes to encourage communities to participate in physical activity during the pandemic.

A walking map was designed and an invitation was widely publicised for residents to sign up to the challenge.

The keen individuals who took part collected a pedometer and put on their walking boots, trainers and even wellies to begin pounding the routes and enjoying their surroundings..

"They were encouraged by one of our volunteers, Juliet Dessain, who contacted the walkers on a regular basis to record mileage and give tips," said Jill Edge of the Sunshine Centre.

"The walkers smashed the first target of collectively walking the distance from Land’s End to John O Groats and have now exceeded a second target of walking from Banbury to our twinned towns of Hennef in Germany, and Ermont in France and back to Banbury via the channel tunnel.

"We want to say a big thank the walkers for their dedication and for making this such an enjoyable, project. We are thrilled with funds raised for the vital work of the centre and so grateful for everyone’s enthusiasm and determination. We are especially thankful for Juliet’s management of the Walking Challenge we could not have achieved this without her."

The Gofundme page is still open for donations here.