Around 60 people in Preston – from toddlers through to senior citizens – joined the BAPS Annual 10K Challenge on Sunday 22 April 2018.

The annual charity Challenge organised by BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha brought together more than 3,000 enthusiastic participants from towns and cities across the UK for a fun and healthy way to raise money for various worthy causes and local charities. 

The funds will go towards supporting BAPS’s multifarious educational, community and spiritual activities in Preston serving children, youths, families and the elderly. 

This year’s event will also support Heartbeat Northwest Cardiac Care for their outstanding work in the local community of Preston for over 40 years. Their purpose is to contribute to a reduction in cardiovascular disease through the delivery of services aimed at existing heart patients and those identified as at risk of developing it.

The 2018 Challenge will also be supporting BAPS’s national charity partner, Carers UK, the country’s only national membership charity for carers. It aims to make life better for the 6.5 million people in the UK who are supporting a loved one who is older, disabled or seriously ill. 

Previous national partners for BAPS and BAPS Charities have included Age UK, Alzheimer’s Society, the Anthony Nolan Trust, Barnardo’s, Breast Cancer Care, the British Heart Foundation, Diabetes UK, KIDS, and Macmillan Cancer Support. Locally, the Challenge has helped the North West Air Ambulance Charity, North West Blood Bikers and St Catherine's Hospice Care in recent years. 

The event kicked off shortly after 9.30am from BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Preston, in the presence of Councillor Brian Rollo, the Mayor of Preston, and Councillor Peter Moss, cabinet member of Preston City Council. Addressing the gathering, the Mayor said, "I am proud to have BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir here for the pivotal work it continues to do in the local community supporting local charities." 

After the opening ceremony, walkers, joggers and runners moved along the 10-kilometre route through Preston City Centre, Winckley Square, down to Avenham Park and on the Preston Guild Wheel greenway route along the scenic River Ribble. The route took participants around Preston Marina taking in the sites of the old railway and berthed vessels in the dock. 

Upon completion of the 10K Challenge, adults and the elderly were provided with a Free NHS Health Check aimed at preventing diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, stroke and dementia. This rounded off a thoroughly fun day out for the whole family full of lots of exercise

Dhaval Patel, 14, shared, “I had lots of fun walking with my dad. I really liked walking along the river and around the Marina. It was good to raise money for charity. Even my school friends helped me with donations." 

One of the lead volunteers for the event, Ghanshyam Limbachia, added, “Carers UK is a great charity. Heartbeat Northwest is equally doing great work here in Lancashire and supporting them is a privilege. The free NHS Health Check initiative worked well straight after the walk showing our participants how much more they need to do on a regular basis for their diet, health and wellbeing."

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