If you’d like to make a donation, please go to https://www.justgiving.com/teams/52inBritain.
As my wife, aunt & mum all died of cancer, I did think of walking in aid of a cancer charity.
But we’ve done other things for cancer, and the walk is about finding hope for the future along a random cross-section of Britain.
So the themes of the three specific charities I’ve chosen all suggested themselves from places 52°N passes, with various family connections.
Charity: The Wilderness Foundation UK
Education and learning is a huge theme behind 52. The walk passes a university, a leading school, two uniformed service training grounds, five museums, ten historic buildings plus three other ancient sites. The educational charity I’ve chosen to support is:
Founded in 1976, the Wilderness Foundation UK harnesses the power of the wilderness to transform vulnerable lives and empowers people to conserve nature, engaging with over 5,000 people a year.
Their Chatham Green Project is about 15 miles south of 52°N in Essex (the county of my mum’s and aunt’s births). It’s a 400-acre living classroom engaging young people with nature, farming and food security.
The Foundation also operates in Scotland (the country of my wife Heather’s birth). Their programme known as Imbewu (meaning “seed” in Zulu), takes young people who may not have had the best start in life and gives them transferable skills and a way into employment.
Importantly, the Wilderness Foundation UK develops a deep connection with nature, building future leaders for a sustainable planet.
For all these reasons, the Foundation was selected in 2018 by the Duke & Duchess of Suffolk as one of their seven Royal Wedding Charities.
If you’d like to support my fundraising for The Wilderness Foundation, please go to https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/52inbritainwild.
Charity: The Woodland Trust
The second major theme of 52 is environmental conservation and the great outdoors. The walk passes an arboretum, a safari park, two national trails, two sets of mountains, and a developing well being park. The environmental charity I’ve chosen to support is:
Established in 1972, The Woodland Trust is the UK’s largest woodland conservation charity with over 1,000 sites covering over 26,000 hectares all over the UK.
The Trust protects and campaigns for Britain’s woods, plants trees, and restores ancient woodland for the benefit of wildlife and people.
The Trust’s millennium project, “Woods On Your Doorstep” (WOYD), enabled over 200 local communities across the UK to design and plant new, local, accessible woods. These now provide much loved amenities for local people and are benefiting the landscape and wildlife.
The 52°N walk passes right through the very first WOYD wood, Daeda’s Wood in north Oxfordshire. It’s a wet woodland copse of willow, oak and ash bordering the River Swere.
Started in 1996, the year Heather and I were married, the Wood (which is named after the local Saxon leader who also gave his name to the nearby village of Deddington), has 3,500 maturing trees planted by over 100 villagers.
In addition, because the Wood is on the south bank of the Swere, the site was selected by BBOWT* to be an otter’s holt.
If you’d like to support my fundraising for The Woodland Trust, please go to https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/52inbritainwood.
* BBOWT is the Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust, of which my parents were long-term members.
Charity: Centre for Alternative Technology
The third major theme of 52 is one of the biggest issues facing humanity: the future production of sustainable energy. The 52°N walk goes right through a solar park in Hertfordshire and a wind farm in Wales, so it makes a lot sense for me to support a charity which is a unique centre of sustainability solutions:
The Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) is about 45 miles north of 52°N in west Wales (the country of my dad’s birth). It is an education and visitor centre demonstrating practical solutions for all aspects of green living: renewable energy, energy efficiency, environmental building, eco-sanitation, woodland management and organic growing.
Founded in 1973, CAT is now Europe’s leading eco-centre, receiving tens of thousands of visitors every year. The centre has the largest range of renewable systems installed anywhere, including photovoltaics, solar thermal, wind turbines, a micro-grid, biomass heat & power, hydro and air source heat pumps.
The Centre’s flagship research project, Zero Carbon Britain (ZCB), aims to show that a modern, zero-emissions society is possible using technology available today.
If you’d like to support my fundraising for The Centre for Alternative Technology, please go to https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/52inbritaincat.
Thanks ever so much for your generosity.