Over the last 6 months, Westbury Fields resident Jennifer Gardener has been walking 100 miles a month to raise money for charity. What started out as a way to raise funds for two deserving organisations has had a very positive effect on Jennifer and other residents of Westbury Fields retirement village. Here, she reflects upon her experience.
"This year the Soroptimist International Bristol Club, an organisation promoting women's health and wellbeing, celebrate their centenary. Our president decided to walk 100 miles a month for a year to promote well-being and raise funds for the National Institute of Integrative Medicine and Bristol Lifeskills, Bristol's safety education centre.
I decided that I could do something like that too, to support the club and Methodist Women in Britain’s charity Mission Aviation Fellowship, who fly medical and essential supplies into remote areas of the world where road transport is not an option. They have been doing a lot of work during this pandemic."
"I needed to lose weight and do some exercise. I decided to walk 100 miles a month for six months. I started in June, walking around the Westbury Fields complex. A neighbour offered to join me, and once restrictions were lifted we were able to walk around Badock's Wood and Blaise Castle. I put an article in the Westbury Fields weekly newsletter and very soon afterwards donations came pouring in."
As time went by, other neighbours joined in as well. At a certain time each afternoon we all meet at the fish pond and set out on our walk, the other residents taking an interest.
"For me, the challenge has been in some ways a spiritual experience as I can so easily find God in nature. All of the trees, flowers and streams of our chosen places to walk speak to me during the different seasons when nature takes on different tones and colours, reminding me of the continuity and beauty of God.
As a community the walks have been a support and encouragement to three other people, and we have now established a Westbury Fields walking group which will continue into the future. They have also given many other residents something to focus on during a difficult time in our history.
I have been humbled by their support and generosity as well as the generosity so many other people. It has been an inspiration. The total raised to date is £1360. It would be so wonderful if I could give £1000 to each organization."
Donations can be made via JustGiving, by cheque (made out to Miss J A Gardner), or by cash.