More than 1,500 people in London – from toddlers through to senior citizens – joined the BAPS Annual 10K Challenge on Sunday 29 April 2018.
The annual charity Challenge organised by BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) 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 serving children, youths, families and the elderly. 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.
The event kicked off shortly after 10.00am from BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London, in the presence of Ms Heléna Herklots CBE, CEO of Carers UK, Cllr Bhagwanjibhai Chohan, the Mayor of the London Borough of Brent, and Cllr Margaret Davine, the Mayor of the London Borough of Harrow. Also present were MPs Dawn Butler and Bob Blackman, Leader of Brent Council Cllr Muhammed Butt, and several other esteemed guests.
Addressing the gathering, Ms Herklots said, “It’s wonderful to join you and see so many of you here. Thank you all for the partnership you have with Carers UK. We are delighted and honoured to be working with you. We’re here to champion the support for caring and look forward to our year together working with you.”
After the opening ceremony, walkers, joggers and runners moved to the Gibbons Recreation Ground (opposite BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London) to complete their 10 kilometres. Young children completed a number of circuits of their own around the perimeter of the Mandir while participating in various entertaining activities en route.
Jay Patel, a lead volunteer, shared, “Caring for the elderly is an important service which His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj encourages. We are delighted to have an opportunity to help carers perform their noble work to the best of their ability. A special thank you to all the members of the local community who have come out today in support of the event.”
Vandan Patel, a young participant aged eleven, added, “It’s really fun to walk and race with my friends and help to raise money for charity. Helping other people is something we learn at the Mandir every week so this is our chance to do it.”