Diocese of Portsmouth

    94-year-old embarks on long distance fundraising challenge

    Faith stories
    8 June 2020

    INSPIRED by the extraordinary fundraising accomplishments of Captain Tom Moore, 94-year-old former Church Mission Society missionary Canon John Harwood is embarking on a fundraising challenge of his own. Harwood is planning to do 94 walks – one for every year of his life – from his home in Nile St, Emsworth in Hampshire, to his local church, St James, Emsworth, a total distance of 47 miles, nearly double the length of a marathon.

    Harwood, who has never previously completed a marathon or long distance event, is managing to complete two walks every day and so far has raised more than £2,000 for CMS people in mission based in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, Europe and the UK. After completing walk number 32, Harwood said he was relishing the challenge. He said, “I’ve not had any blisters but I do have to sit down to take a rest mid-walk.” Harwood expects it will take another month to reach his total of 94 walks. To officially mark each of his walks, Harwood deposits a numbered slip in the rectory letterbox at St James’ Church.

    Harwood, who served as CMS missionary in Nigeria and Sierra Leone for 10 years, explained that although he retired many years ago the work of CMS continues to inspire him. He said, “I am thrilled by CMS’s ground-breaking mission pioneers like Rachel Karanja, who is utilising renewable energy technology to benefit local communities in Kenya through the Greenspan Biotechnologies project. I hope the money raised by this walk will help raise up many more entrepreneurs.”

    The challenge has captured the imagination of John’s 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”.

    Alastair Bateman, CEO of Church Mission Society, said: “John’s effort is a great example of the energy, commitment, and faithful dedication characterised by CMS missionaries throughout our history. All of the CMS community is with you - praying for you, walking with you [in spirit] and willing you on, as you take on this epic challenge.”

    For more information about John Harwood’s “94 walks for 94 years” fundraising challenge click here.

    Church Mission Society is a community of people with a passion for mission. Formed in 1799 at the zenith of the anti-slavery movement, CMS is one of the world’s oldest mission agencies. CMS’s vision is to see people set free to play their part in the mission of God, bringing challenge, change, hope and freedom to the world, so that people and places are renewed with the love of Christ, pioneering leaders can forge new paths of transformation, people on the margins flourish and the healing of creation begins. CMS currently has over 350 people currently serving in mission programmes, nationally and internationally, responding to God’s call in Europe, Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America.

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