Over 2200 walkers participated in this year's Annual Sponsor Walk which took place on Sun 11 July at six different centres around the country. In London, the event started at 9.00am with the opening ceremony performed in true traditional style. In front of the Mandir, in the presence of Harikrishna Maharaj, India's High commissioner, H.E. Lalit Mansingh declared the walk open with a short Vedic ceremony. In his address to those gathered, His Excellency praised the humanitarian work of the Sanstha and gave his impressions of the deep humility of Pramukh Swami Maharaj. He also asked everyone to pray for those involved in the recent Kargil Conflict, upon which a special dhoon was chanted. The first walkers left the Mandir at 9.30a.m. to cover the 10km route along the North Circular Road, Wembley Park Drive and Wembley Stadium. Soaring temperatures only seemed to enthuse further the walkers who arrived from all over Greater London. Participants ranged from eight-year-old children to OAPs aged over 85 and most completed the distance within two hours, with the last group coming in at 5.00p.m. In addition to the Indian High Commissioner, Cllr Shah of Harrow and industrialist R. K. Mehrotra also participated in the walk. To ensure smooth running of the event, some 150 youth volunteers patiently manned the route and "rest points" providing welcome drinks and light refreshments. The whole event was effeciently managed from start to finish by teams of volunteers, including those performing seva at the car park, the I.T. team, the Administration and Accounts team, the stewards and stewardesses, the medical team, not forgetting the catering team. The event was systematically organised, effectively executed and thoroughly enjoyed by everyone involved. Throughout the rest of the country, the enthusiasm as well as the weather matched that in London. Shukmuni Swami and Vishwaprakash Swami took part in the walk at Leicester. After completing the walk in Birmingham in the morning, Bhaktivallabh Swami and Aksharvihari Swami rushed to Wellingborough to visit walkers there. Yogvivek Swami took part in the walk at Ashton. Despite santos not being able to go to Preston, spirits as well as the attendance were high. The proceeds will fund ongoing cultural and social activities at our mandirs as well as educational work at The Swaminarayan School.

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