Friday, 19 April 2024
Friday, 19 April 2024

Rotarians carry ShelterBox on their back for 80 miles during fundraising walk

ROTARIANS from across the northeast of England have completed a challenging Day of Action which, in part, involved carrying a ShelterBox along a length of Hadrian’s Wall to raise funds for the international disaster relief charity. 

The challenge was organised by Rotarian and ShelterBox volunteer Peter Tracey, 78, from the Rotary Club of Whitley Bay to raise crucial awareness for ShelterBox while bringing together Rotary clubs from (District 1030) the north of England. 

The charity specialises in emergency shelter aid and supports people who have had to leave their homes or had them damaged or destroyed, because of extreme weather events or conflict. It is supporting thousands of earthquake-affected people across Türkiye and Syria with crucial aid like tents, thermal blankets, mattresses, and winter coats. 

Around 20 Rotarians from the Rotary Club of Whitley Bay took part in the 80-mile challenge with support from dozens of other clubs across the region. 

With a ShelterBox tent and other essential items that help disaster-affected communities around the world on display in Newcastle city centre, Rotary members also took the time to share with members of the public how items like solar lights and water filters give people the leg up they need to recover from disaster. 

Peter said:

“The Whitley Bay club marched from the Wallsend end of the wall, from a remarkable Roman site called Segedunum to the centre of Newcastle upon Tyne, (a Roman town called Pons Aelius) carrying a ShelterBox before passing it onto the next club. 

“We wanted to highlight the work that ShelterBox has been doing to alleviate the problems in, especially, Ukraine, Turkey, Syria, and Pakistan over the last few months.” 

Peter was inspired to start fundraising for ShelterBox following the Boxing Day tsunami of 2004, which ShelterBox responded to.   

He said:

“My own interest in ShelterBox stems from a holiday I had in Sri Lanka. My wife and I befriended a lovely man, a tuk-tuk driver who showed us great kindness and friendship, and introduced us to his family and his home that stood a metre or so from a railway line. 

“We kept in touch for a few months and then came the great Boxing Day tsunami and we heard no more. The train we had once travelled had been hit by the tsunami and we understand that 1,800 people perished as the train was overwhelmed. It could have been us.” 

Peter, the former president of the Rotary Club of Newcastle upon Tyne often gives talks about the work of ShelterBox to community groups, schools, and Rotary clubs from Berwick to Stokesley. The charity was founded by the Rotary Club of Helston in 2000 and since then has supported more than 2.5 million people across 98 countries. 

ShelterBox is currently helping people displaced by monsoon flooding in Pakistan, the worst drought to hit East Africa in four decades, and conflict in places like Ukraine, Yemen, and Burkina Faso. It’s also supporting people who have had to leave their homes in Syria, Cameroon, and Mozambique. 

Rotary Engagement Officer for ShelterBox, Fiona Turner said:

“Every ShelterBox response is different, and we tailor our aid package to the needs of disaster-affected people, listening to what communities need. 

“It could be shelter kits, solar lights, blankets, mosquito nets, water filters, or training that is locally appropriate to make the biggest difference for communities after a disaster.  

“Our responses are made possible because of the generous support we have from our supporters and fundraisers. Our long-standing relationship with Rotary often plays a crucial role in helping us to deliver emergency shelter support to people who need it most around the world.” 

Rotary clubs across the northeast of England (District 1030) have raised £30,000 in donations over the last year and are hoping to raise hundreds more with this challenge. 

To find out more about fundraising for ShelterBox, please visit: shelterbox.org. 

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