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Our "‘Longest Day Walk’ in Lockdown" raises both funds and spirits
Alex Brown / 24 June 2020 / Categories: News

Our "‘Longest Day Walk’ in Lockdown" raises both funds and spirits

20-22nd June, 2020

Village Aid is an international charity founded by Arnold Geography teacher, Mr Kendall Lee 30 years ago and supported by the school (now AKS Lytham) ever since. Village Aid supports a village called Buigiri, and the nearby Blind Rehabilitation Centre, in Tanzania.

A school tradition has been to undertake a sponsored annual 'longest day' walk/run, coinciding with the summer solstice. The distance reflects the walk to school that many children do with inadequate footwear, encouraging our students to ‘walk in their shoes’ and gain an appreciation of what life is like for the school children we are helping.

Mrs Hamilton, AKS Action charity joint co-ordinator, explained how the event was adapted for lockdown this year, “As we could not do our usual event together this year, we invited all members of our school community and friends of AKS to walk, jog, cycle or run their own socially-distanced 10k in our 'Lockdown Longest Day Challenge'”.  The challenge took part over the weekend of 20-22nd June.

The engagement across our community was fantastic with members of the school, from nursery to sixth form, as well as staff taking part. Participants included Year 7 and 9 boys, Jack and James who took part, along with their father who completed it over in Hong Kong, where he's been in lockdown since February 23rd. For brother and sister, William and Grace (pre-school and Year 2), it was the longest they've ever walked.

Whereas for old-timers, Emily, Alex, Sally, Imogen, Isabel (class of 2020), it was their last as AKS students. Emily explained, "We have done the Longest Day Walk almost every year since Year 7 so since it’s our last ever one we decided to get in the true spirit! We got up at 4am and went to the windmill, we did the usual route and then finished at AKS." Likewise, Charlotte (class of 2020) also 'has previous' at this challenge, doing it every year since she has been at the school and making a significant contribution to our fundraising. She submitted a fantastic video which chartered her 10k run. We were almost as tired as she was just seeing the sheer distance she covered!

The Knowles family have taken part every year for the past six years. Mrs Knowles charted the route the family took, along with their dog, Barney, “We started from home then followed path from Lytham to St Anne’s pier and back total of 12k. No bacon butties this year but had ice cream at grannies bay.” 

As well as current members of staff who completed the walk/run with their families, Mrs Busby ‘came ‘out of retirement' after leaving the school’s English department last year, to complete hers on her bike at 7am.

Members of our wider community have also got involved, with parent, Mrs Booth saying, “I'm so glad to be supporting such a worthy charity again this year and have made a donation which will be kindly matched by my employer, Beaverbrooks.”

Mrs Hamilton explained, I have been overwhelmed by the response to the Longest Day 10km ‘Lockdown’ Challenge this year. Special thanks to all the participants from the families in Prep School to our Year 13 leavers, staff to our alumni, this year the has been incredible and one of our best to date. The AKS community has raised nearly £1000 and together with Blackpool Sunrise Rotary Club we have received over £4000 in donations for Village Aid honouring the legacy of Martha and Kenneth. This amount will go a long way to help fund the water sanitation facilities that are so vital for the blind rehabilitation centre. It just goes to show the strength and magic of AKS in adverse circumstances. It makes me so very proud to be a member of the AKS community.”

Alex Brown, Director of External Relations concluded, “The participation and funds raised every year, even in lockdown, are testament to the school’s ambition for our students to not just be successful as individuals, but to also be people of value to their immediate and wider communities. This spirit of service is rooted in the culture of the school and encapsulated in our school characteristic of ‘Success And Value’.”

AKS’ Just Giving Page for Village Aid will be open until 5th July for further donations.

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