Jean’s husband Dave Thompson successfully completed his special “stroll-athon” on Monday helped by Aquinoe chair Jean, long-time supporters Min and Tim Chicken, son Chris Thompson and near-neighbour Liz Baker, who turned 80 last month.
All walked part of the journey with Dave who had set off at 08:00 to stroll 11 times round Tonbridge Recreation Ground for a total of 21.1 km — the half-marathon distance.
Fantastic sponsorship from so many Aquinoe supporters has raised over £2,300 to help pay teachers at the school which is closed until January because of Covid-19.
On a perfect summer’s morning Dave was joined first by Jean, then Min who had travelled 50 miles by car with Tim from their home near Folkestone after also securing valuable sponsorship, then Chris, who caught a train from London to surprise his dad, and finally Liz, fresh from an osteopath appointment !
Dave, 75, said: “It took under five hours and I’ve been doubly overwhelmed – first by everyone who sponsored the stroll and secondly by all who joined me on Monday morning for our very own walk in the park.”
Dave has run various half-marathons in the past but gave up running last year. When he heard of the teachers’ plight he came up with the idea of strolling a half-marathon, rather than running it.
“It was such great fun this morning we’re already thinking of making it an annual event,” he says.
Jean says: “Aquinoe is so lucky to have the best supporters in the world. Thank you so much to all who participated and contributed.”
Min says: “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. We stepped out today and bridged the thousands of miles between Tonbridge and Aquinoe Learning Centre.”
Liz says: “I think Stroll-athons are great fun and I am still feeling a sense of achievement. Anyone can participate, so stroll-athons are inclusive, which is really appropriate for Aquinoe.”
Chris says: “With all the chaos here in the UK it’s easy to forget that there are other people all over the world who need support right now. Congratulations to Dad for making us all proud and for making so much money for Aquinoe.”
No salary is being paid to teachers in schools such as Aquinoe and the charity has already stepped in twice to secure wages until the end of July as well as helping families of those children who would normally be sponsored during term time.