Canon, 94, fired up to complete walking marathon for CMS
This week’s less-than-ideal weather hasn’t hampered 94-year-old Canon John Harwood, who is on track to complete his impressive “94 Walks for 94 Years” fundraising feat tomorrow (Friday 3 July).
After 47 days and over 90 walks in support of Church Mission Society's work around the world, Canon John – who is doing one walk for every year of his life between his home and his local parish church, St James in Emsworth, Hampshire – will complete his 94th and final walk tomorrow.
Canon John, a former CMS missionary who served in Nigeria and Sierra Leone for 10 years, is an active supporter of the work of CMS and its mission partners and local partners around the world. Inspired by the fundraising exploits of Captain Tom Moore, he decided to undertake his own fundraising challenge to raise funds for CMS people in mission who are serving communities, supporting local ministries and caring for the environment.
Starting in May, Canon John committed to completing two walks per day, half a mile each for a total distance of 47 miles, the equivalent of walking from London to Brighton – or almost two marathons. Walking each day did take a toll and John had to overcome tiredness, sore feet and backache. However, now that the finish line is approaching and he has seen more than £15,000 donated so far to support the work of CMS, Canon John said, “It’s all been worth it.”
Alastair Bateman, CEO of Church Mission Society, who will be in Hampshire tomorrow to celebrate Canon John’s last walk, reflected the thoughts of many people, both from John’s local community and supporters from the CMS community around the world. saying; "John’s willingness to put himself on the line like this echoes the selfless sacrifice of countless men and women who have served in CMS throughout its history, putting the needs and wellbeing of others above their own comfort.”
With the finishing line of his first ever long distance athletic event in sight, Canon John dispelled rumours that the record of Fauja Singh for the oldest person to complete the London Marathon is in his sights: “I’m quite looking forward to a rest,” he said.
Bateman concluded; “I’ve no doubt Canon John’s walk will prove to be an inspiration to many people, especially at a time when many of our mission partners around the world are supporting communities in the face of the coronavirus crisis.”
John’s sponsored challenge efforts have captured the imagination of his local community who have donated generously to support his effort and offered their encouragement with comments such as “Inspirational”, “CMS is lucky to have you” and “the Racing Rev”.
For more information about John Harwood’s 94 Walks for 94 Years fundraising challenge go to www.justgiving.com/fundraising/John-HarwoodCMS