Walkers stepping out to help restore Wey and Arun Canal

Poddle organiser Margaret Darville with celebrity sponsored walker friend.
Poddle organiser Margaret Darville with celebrity sponsored walker friend.

PEOPLE strolling across the South Downs on the first Sunday in June are sure of a big surprise if they encounter a band of sponsored walkers.

Among those stepping out on June 7 will be a ‘celebrity’ entrant, helping to raise money for the restoration of an historic waterway between West Sussex and Surrey.

The Poddle is the Wey and Arun Canal Trust’s major fundraising occasion of the year, bringing in money to help pay for reviving the 23-mile canal between Pallingham and Shalford.

Joining ‘celebrity’ guest Paddington will be trust chairman Sally Schupke.

Poddle co-ordinator Margaret Darville said: “If people aren’t already sponsoring someone for the walk, it would be fantastic if they could support Sally. Or, people can sponsor the last person to finish.”

This year’s Poddle starts and finishes at St Michael’s Church hall in Amberley. It follows an 11-mile route across the South Downs National Park, with options to walk the whole distance or just the afternoon section. Walkers are asked to raise a minimum of just £20 a person.

People walking as a team and raising at least £200 between them can split their sponsorship between the trust and an organisation or charity of their choice.

“The restored canal will bring far wider benefits than just boating opportunities,” added Mrs Darvill.

“It will be a green corridor that can be also be enjoyed by walkers, cyclists and wildlife enthusiasts, which is why we are keen for a wide cross-section of the public to support the Poddle participants.

“The 50/50 offer will benefit organisations who need to raise funds such as young people’s groups. We make all the arrangements, while they can help themselves and the canal trust at the same time.”

Contact Mrs Darvill on 01483 894606 or e-mail poddle@weyandarun.co.uk for more information.

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