Rambling for a cause

This past weekend I had the pleasure of taking part in the newest British Asian Trust challenge event to raise funds for our vital work in South Asia. Joined by a group of 30 of our amazing friends and supporters, we set off on a 25-kilometer ramble across the Royal parks of London in support of education, child protection, mental health, livelihoods and conservation – all causes we are passionate about.

The Ramble began at 8am in the majestic Bushy Park in South West London. Beautiful, but the most inconvenient park for anyone to get to! My own challenge, therefore, started at 5.30am so I could get to the “start” on time. A car to the station, a mainline train, an underground, an overland and then an Uber, got me fairly close, but the park was blocked off and Uber could only get a mile away. So I then had to walk a mile to get to the start of the 25km walk....! 

Anyway, by 8.30am 30 of our friends, supporters, Trustees, Ambassadors and BAT colleagues laced-up our shoes, stuffed 10 chocolate and energy bars into our pockets and pretended to do some warm-up stretches let by our Ambassadors Mark Ramprakash and Sonali Shah. At exactly that moment someone found out that India had just thrashed England in the final Test – which really put Mark in a great mood and we had to stretch even more. 

We then moved the start line and were informed that this was not a race. How ridiculous. I’d been training for this for months by taking my dog for extra long walks – and what was the point of that if no-one was going to be able to actually win? I secretly decided to at least beat my colleagues as some of the others looked too fit. 

Rambling For A Cause (2)

As we covered mile after mile and conquered the huge mountains of Richmond and Putney, I kept reminding everyone that we were making a difference—raising vital funds to support the British Asian Trust's life-changing work in South Asia. 

But it wasn't just the physical exertion that made this day unforgettable - it was the sense of camaraderie and the opportunity to have such great quality time with a fantastic group of people. Whether we were swapping stories, sharing snacks, or offering words of encouragement, each member of our rambling cohort played a vital role in making this experience truly memorable.  

As we reached our final destination—St James's Palace—there was a genuine feeling of accomplishment. Not only had we completed the Ramble but we all felt proud of the funds we had raised and knowing that together we made a difference for those in South Asia. There was no better place to celebrate than with a small reception in one of the amazing private rooms in St James’s Palace. 

I feel we are uniquely placed as a charity. We receive an immense amount of love from the British Asian diaspora, with many Trustees, supporters, and Ambassadors, who weren’t even taking part in the Ramble, coming to cheer the group on. 

I am so grateful to the support we have all had and to everyone who has sponsored me and helped my personal fundraising total reach £11.4k. Absolutely brilliant, thank you! If you would like to sponsor me and haven’t had chance yet, I would be delighted. Please sponsor me here.  

This will now become any annual event – so I extend to you an invitation: join me on the next British Asian Trust Ramble next year. Lace up your boots, embrace the spirit of adventure and together, let's make a difference in the world. After all, there's nothing quite like the feeling of knowing that your footsteps are helping to pave the way for a brighter future for others in need. 

by Richard Hawkes, Chief Executive, British Asian Trust