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80 miles for 80 years, the minister marking his milestone for charity

by Donna Birrell

A retired minister is marking his 80th birthday by walking 80 miles to raise money for charity.

Reverend Charles New will be following the Wirral Way from West Kirby to Hooton over the course of eight days.

He told Premier that proceeds from the fundraiser will support the Methodist Ministers' Housing Society - a charity that provides accommodation for retiring Methodist presbyters and deacons:

"While I decided that since I've enjoyed relatively good health for 80 years, that I would walk 80 miles simply for my own satisfaction. But then having planned to do that, I thought, well why don't I do what other people often do and use it as an opportunity to raise money?" 

Reverend Charles, who sits on the board of the Methodist Ministers' Housing Society, says any money raised will be much appreciated:

"We have recently set up a well-being fund which provides adaptations to our residents' homes, which enables them to stay in their homes longer than they might otherwise be able to. I thought that it would be good fun to invite people to contribute as the society exists in order to enable people with insufficient resources to have a home of their own - well a home that is shared of course."

The walk also marks 50 years since Reverend New was ordained as a Minister. He says that since he retired, he has tried to stay active:

"My wife and I try to walk every day. We purposely didn't have a newspaper delivered so that we'd have to go and walk out. One of us at least would have to walk out to buy one - so we do a two mile walk around our local roads.

"Our daughter lives quite close to what is locally known as the Wirral Way, which is an old railway line, long since turned into a linear walkway and bridle path. So, I've worked out three routes which begin and finish at her house."

Asked how much he hopes to raise by his walk, Reverend Charles says he would be grateful for anything:

"I have no idea at all. I worked in the Wirral for 21 years altogether from 1973 to 1994. So maybe there'll be some people in the churches here who remember me who might be inclined to sponsor. Obviously, I'll be circulating to some of my friends on my email list. But I really have absolutely no idea - whatever comes in will be a bonus."

He says he plans to spend his actual birthday - 29th August - with his wife, Dora, on Holy Island.


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