More than 150 people in Luton – from toddlers through to senior citizens – joined the BAPS Annual 10K Challenge on Saturday 28 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 in Luton serving children, youths, families and the elderly. 

This year’s event will also support the outstanding work of MIND BLMK in the local community. MIND BLMK supports positive mental health and wellbeing of people in Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes.

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 Keech Hospice Care, Luton & Dunstable Children’s Ward and CHUMS in recent years.

The event kicked off shortly after 12.15pm from Stockwood Park Athletics Centre in the presence of Sue O’Callaghan, Service Coordinator at Mind BLMK (Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes). Sue was welcomed by Hema Pancholi, a senior volunteer from the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Luton in traditional Hindu manner.

Addressing the gathering, Sue O’Callaghan said: “Thank you for choosing us as your local charity. I wish you all the very best of luck for the Challenge.”

PCSO Daniel McHugh from the Bedfordshire Police Community Cohesion Team was also present at the event. The local police cohesion team interacted with the participants explaining the work of police cohesion with different communities.

After the opening ceremony, walkers and runners moved around the athletic track to complete the 10 kilometres.

Parag Bhatt, a participant, shared, “Even with the rain falling, the whole day was fun for my entire family. It is great to be able to do something to support worthy local causes.”

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