Marathon means life and death for Norwich Rev
For Norwich vicar Rev Philip Young, running the London Marathon for the fifth time is not just a personal challenge to raise £100,000, it is a matter of life and death. Here he explains why.
Last time I ran the London Marathon in 2008 I managed to raise over £10,000 for the rebuilding of the Church Hall of St Thomas Heigham in Norwich, which was damaged by an arson attack the day after I became Vicar here in May 2007. These generous donations were largely collected from, churchgoers, people living in the parish, and from friends. It helped us to re-open the church hall in 2009, which is now a wonderful asset for the church and our local community.
This year, God willing, I am running the London Marathon on the April 17 (Palm Sunday) and raising money for Water Aid. It will be the fifth time that I have pounded the 26.2 miles on the streets of London and the fourth time I will be raising money for Water Aid. The training is going well and hopefully no injury or illness will prevent my running.
This year I want to widen my appeal for funds to the good people of Norfolk, and I am hoping to raise £100,000. This is a lot of money to be asking people to give when times are tough for many. The question will inevitably arise as to why am I not supporting a local charity, such as the Norfolk Air Ambulance, or the Children’s Hospice at Quidenham? And the Diocese of Norwich may well ask, why I am not raising funds for the church again? These are good causes and important in their own right, but the issue of dirty water and poor sanitation in the wider world is also a matter of life and death.
Water Aid writes, “It’s a fact that around 4,000 children die every day from diarrhoea because they lack clean water and sanitation. But it’s not just about saving lives - safe water and sanitation are the first steps out of poverty. Water Aid supporters have helped to bring benefits, education and livelihoods to over 14 million people. What we do works but we need to do more of it.
is 12, and lives in Mbalawala Village
. She used to get up at 4am and walk two hours to fetch water. She missed a lot of school through sickness. Water Aid worked in her village for two years. Now it takes Erika just 15 minutes to get a bucket of clean water. She no longer misses school. Erika’s world is changing for the better. We could take our solution anywhere and everywhere in this world of ours - but not without you. Be part of the world that children like Erika should be looking forward to.”
The problem is huge and that is why I am asking for a huge amount of money. Can you please help me, not only by raising money, but also by raising awareness, so that people power can really make a difference? I will need practical help to collect all the money too, so please offer.
I will be calling on my friends in the media to publicise my big target and you could look at it as a contribution to the Big Society, which I see as worldwide. While there are people in the world without access to clean water and good sanitation, then we should not rest easily in our beds.
Together we can make a difference. See the Water Aid website at www.wateraid.org