More than 130 people in Luton – from toddlers through to senior citizens – joined the BAPS Annual Challenge on Saturday 27 April 2019.
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 Happy Days Children’s Charity for their outstanding work in the local community. The charity helps terminally ill, sick, disabled and abused children and young carers with respite breaks, holidays and day trips.
The 2019 Challenge will also be supporting BAPS’s national charity partner, the NSPCC (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children) – the UK’s leading charity campaigning and working to protect children from neglect, harm and abuse.
Previous national partners for BAPS and BAPS Charities have included Age UK, the Alzheimer’s Society, the Anthony Nolan Trust, Barnardo’s, Breast Cancer Care, the British Heart Foundation, Carers UK, Diabetes UK, KIDS and Macmillan Cancer Support. Locally, the Challenge has helped Keech Hospice Care, Luton & Dunstable Children’s Ward, CHUMS and MIND BLMK in recent years.
The event kicked off shortly after 12.15pm from Stockwood Park Athletics Centre in the presence of Nicky Tamke, Senior Fundraiser at Happy Days. Sheila Rathod, a senior volunteer from BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Luton, greeted Nicky with traditional Hindu marks of welcome.
Addressing the gathering, Nicky Tamke said, “Thank you very much for coming out in this weather. You will make a difference to the lives of children that Happy Days supports.”
After the opening ceremony, walkers, joggers and runners moved around the athletic track to complete the Challenge. Shreeya Rathod, a young participant, shared, “The event was such a fun day. Happy Days provides important support to children of different backgrounds and I am grateful for the opportunity to make a difference.”
One of the lead volunteers for the event, Harish Pancholi, added, “This event brought together young and old from the community to support great causes and make a lasting difference to people who need it the most. I am truly honoured to be part of a community that is inspired to help others, and we look forward to supporting more good causes in the future.”