Dawson Stelfox, the first Irish person to climb Mount Everest, has urged people to take part in sponsored strolls or hikes this autumn to raise funds for Christian Aid.
The well-known mountaineer, who stood at the top of the world in May 1993, climbed Cave Hill, overlooking Belfast, to launch Christian Aid Ireland’s Big Walk 2020.
The fundraising campaign invites people of all ages and fitness levels to take part in self-organised and socially distanced sponsored walks with their family and friends, either an ambitious hike in the hills or a leisurely stroll through a local beauty spot.
The funds raised will allow Christian Aid to support people facing poverty and crisis around the world. To comply with coronavirus guidelines, the walks should not involve more than 10 people.
Dawson is passionate about the value of exercising in the outdoors. “Walking, especially in nature, is a proven way to boost our physical health and mental wellbeing, especially after months of lockdown,” he said.
“But taking part in a walk for Christian Aid allows you to go one step further. By raising funds to help the world’s poorest people, we can improve their health and life chances too.”
Christian Aid is urging groups of walkers to choose their own date and route and to register on its website to receive a fundraising pack. The charity hopes that walks will take place in every county across the island during September and October.
Dawson explained why he had decided to back the charity’s call. “I’m proud to be involved in an initiative that combines healthy outdoor exercise with raising money for a good cause, especially as Christian Aid is responding to the coronavirus pandemic and the climate crisis in more than 20 of the world’s poorest countries.”
Christian Aid Ireland’s Chief Executive, Rosamond Bennett, echoed Dawson’s call for the public to get involved.
“Maybe you’ve been doing a Joe Wicks’ workout every day during lockdown, or maybe the only path you’ve beaten is the one between the sofa and the fridge. Either way, by getting involved you will help us bring hope to the world’s poorest people,” said Rosamond.
Walkers can find out more and register at www.caid.ie/BigWalk.