National Sponsored Family Walk & Fun Run 2009
Sunday 26 April 2009

The Annual BAPS Sponsored Family Walk and Fun Run was held at 13 BAPS Swaminarayan Mandirs and Centres across the UK on Sunday 26 April 2009. This year’s event was organised in conjunction with The Anthony Nolan Trust, the charity that tackles leukaemia through recruiting bone marrow donors.

Ms. Henny Braund – Chief Executive Officer and Mr. David Knight, Head of Communications at The Anthony Nolan Trust were present to offer their encouragement and gratitude. Other invited guests for the opening ceremony in London included Cllr Ralph Fox – The Worshipful The Mayor of the London Borough of Brent and Cllr. John Nickolay – The Worshipful The Mayor of the London Borough of Harrow, as well as local MPs, Dawn Butler (Brent South) and Sarah Teather (Brent East). Arvindbhai Joshi of the charity ASHIANA was also present, as was Ajay Patel of Goldshield – the sponsor of this event. Representatives from the Royal Army and Royal Navy arrived to support the event.

Ms. Braund expressed her happiness to be present at the launch of the Walk and the association with BAPS, “I am absolutely delighted to be here and see all of you from BAPS. It is an absolutely perfect partnership that we can work together and save lives. My experience here has been enriching and you have been so welcoming and supporting of The Anthony Nolan Trust. We are so proud to be working with BAPS.”

Mr. Knight also offered his thoughts, “The Anthony Nolan Trust are absolutely delighted that BAPS have chosen us as their charity for this year, and for this event. The Anthony Nolan Trust and BAPS working together is a perfect partnership and through this, we can increase the number of people on our register from the Asian population.”

Cllr Ralph Fox spoke of the great work of BAPS, “I would like to congratulate the Trustees and everybody who has organised this Walk for bringing out such a fantastic group of people here. I know that the Swaminarayan Mandir is in the forefront in helping the community in Brent, and year after year you have been proving that.”

Sarah Teather, MP underlined the spirit of selflessness that epitomised the Walk, “You are living the words of Pramukh Swami Maharaj – ‘In the joy of others lies our own’. It is inspiring to see what BAPS can do, not just to raise money but also raise awareness.”

Following the address from Yogvivek Swami and invited guests, the 10km walk at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London, commenced at 9am from the Ceremonial Gate of the Mandir. Over 4,000 walkers participated at various locations across the UK amidst beautiful spring sunshine and mild weather, aged from young children through to elderly participants over 90 years of age.

The routes were stewarded by volunteers and provisions for medical assistance and refreshments were available at various rest points. In addition to The Anthony Nolan Trust, donations were also raised for various local charities.

The event provided an opportunity for the local communities to become involved and raise awareness for health as well as promoting and supporting the work of charities. A clinic was organised by The Anthony Nolan trust where walkers were able to register with the charity as potential donors.

In addition to the funds raised for BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha and The Anthony Nolan Trust, many other charities received valuable support from this event. In London, ASHIANA, a charity that serves the needs of children and young people with learning and physical disabilities also received donations. Walks held at local Centres also helped to support the following charities: