More than 350 people in East London – from toddlers through to senior citizens – joined the BAPS Annual Challenge on Sunday 28 April 2019.
The 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 East London serving children, youths, families and the elderly.
This year’s event will also support the local work of Barnardo’s who support and care for vulnerable children and young adults.
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.
The event kicked off shortly after 11.30am from BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Chigwell in the presence of Paul Beard, Senior Operations Manager at Barnardo’s, and Cllr Darshan Sungar, Chairman of the Chigwell Parish Council. 
Addressing the gathering, Paul Beard drew upon the partnership between BAPS and Barnardo’s speaking about the shared values of keeping children safe.
Mr Sungar also addressed the assembly and said, “The new BAPS Chigwell Mandir has inspired the local community to participate in events like the Annual Challenge where the young and elderly can walk or run together.”
After the opening ceremony, walkers, joggers and runners moved along the route from the Mandir to Chigwell Sports Ground where they completed five laps before returning to the Mandir.
Rashesh Rao, a lead volunteer, said, ‘’It was great to see such enthusiasm from all participants. We are delighted that both the young and senior members of the community came together to raise funds for such great causes, and we hope the donations can make a positive and lasting difference to the lives of vulnerable children.”
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