News & Events
BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir kicked off the BAPS Charities Annual 10k Challenge in north London on Sunday 12 April 2015.
In total, over 3,000 participants walked or ran the 10 kilometres in about 20 towns and cities across the UK. The annual event brings together people of all ages and backgrounds around the country to do something healthy and fun and to raise valuable funds for a variety of worthy causes.
The official partner for BAPS Charities this year is the British Heart Foundation, the the largest independent funder of cardiovascular research. The Challenge will also raise funds for Rosa, a charitable fund set up to support initiatives that benefit women and girls in the UK.
Previous national partners have included Barnardo’s, Breast Cancer Care, Diabetes UK, Age UK, KIDS, The Anthony Nolan Trust, Macmillan Cancer Support as well as the British Heart Foundation.
The annual challenge has evolved since its inception over 20 years ago. This year offered participants one of four very different physical feats to complete: the traditional 10km walk or run, a bike ride from London to Brighton or Paris, a gruelling Spartan Challenge, and for the really adventurous, a tandem skydive.
The event in London kicked off from the Mandir shortly after 10am in the presence of Dr Virander Paul, Deputy High Commissioner for India in London, The Mayor of Brent Cllr Kana Naheerathan, Lord Popat and Lord Ahmad as well as various local councillors. Sarah Lennon, Regional Head of Community Fundraising at the British Heart Foundation and Samantha Rennie, Executive Director of Rosa were also present.
In his brief address, Dr Paul spoke of the ‘Indian values and traditions that’ events such as the 10k Challenge fosters. He also touched on BAPS Charities’ achievements in areas of education, sport, medical support and the environment which have “made a positive difference to not only the Indian community but to the British society at large.”
Ms Lennon discussed the work that is being undertaken to improve the ‘out of hospital’ cardiac arrest survival rates and, in particular, training of schoolchildren to conduct CPR. “With your help today, we are hoping to provide these kits to local schools so that young people and children won’t be frightened if they see someone having a heart attack.”
Ms Rennie firstly praised the integral role of women within BAPS after witnessing the recent International Women’s Day celebrations at the Mandir. She added: “We’re delighted with the support this event has provided for our work. We’re also very pleased to mark a new partnership with BAPS which will help raise more funds for vital work and help spread the message that investing in women makes a big difference to the whole community.”
Lead volunteer for BAPS Charities Dr Mayank Shah shared: “We’re very proud to continue our long-running partnership with the British Heart Foundation and begin a new one with Rosa. We hope that this event will enable them to continue their great work and to help raise awareness about these important challenges in our community. It was especially heart-warming to see the enthusiasm in so many young children, youths as well as the elderly who are taking part today.”
The sunny spring weather helped to create a thoroughly enjoyable experience for all participants. Nisha Patel, 13, shared: “It’s great to walk with friends knowing that what you are doing is helping a good cause, and I hope I can learn how to save a life too.”
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