High-tech Boundary Walk raises thousands for charity
At least 26 charities and community groups received a welcome cash boost thanks to the efforts of more than 400 participants in Sunday’s Rotary Boundary Walk. Together they raised more than £4,000 in sponsorship while the event raised another £2,500 for Rotary good causes.
A total of 418 walkers set out on the 13-mile circuit of the boundary of the old Maidenhead Borough based on the tradition of ‘beating the bounds’ which dates back to when the town was granted its charter in 1582. Another 36 people of all ages completed a shorter family route, which ensures the Boundary Walk is accessible to everyone.
Town crier Chris Brown started the event by reading a proclamation to set the walkers on their way.
Among those taking part were Zahra Bharmal and Farida Nagee who completed two circuits of the long route to clock up a full marathon. It is the second time Zahra had completed 26 miles at the event, after she lost out on a place in the London Marathon last year.
Another stand-out walker was Hardev Singh Panesar, who this year completed his 29th Boundary Walk, raising almost £1,000 for charities in Maidenhead. He first did the walk in 1983 and over the years has raised about £50,000 for various charities, mainly the Thames Valley Adventure Playground in Taplow.
The biggest team entry was a 49-strong contingent raising money for autism awareness while large groups were also fielded by The Link Foundation, Tuneless Choir, scouts, guides and fundraisers for research into Motor Neurone Disease.
The event is organised jointly by the Rotary Club of Maidenhead Bridge and Rotary Club of Maidenhead which deployed scores of volunteers to man refreshment points and steward road crossings along the route, which started and ended in Boulters Lock Car Park in Lower Cookham Road.
This year saw the introduction of a new app called Zuvolo which guided walkers around the route but also allowed organisers to track their progress.
Event organiser Lisa Hunter said: “Rotary has been helping to develop and test the Zuvolo app. From a safety perspective we are now able to track walkers around the route which will help us make the event more sustainable into the future as we will be less dependent on stewards.”
She was delighted with this year’s increased turnout. “Numbers have bounced right back after Covid. Thanks to everyone for taking part and to all the Rotarians and other volunteers for giving up their time to help,” she said.
Maidenhead MP Theresa May once again joined walkers for the start of the walk, along with deputy Royal Borough Mayor, Cllr Simon Bond, Rotary Club presidents John Hudson and James Ticehurst, and Rotary district governor Kate Hodges.
Mrs May said: “It is a great local event and it’s wonderful to see so many people across all ages come together to enjoy the walk and also raising funds for good causes. It shows the best of Maidenhead.”
Interactive info board tells Boundary Walk story
A new interactive information board about one of Maidenhead’s best loved community events has been unveiled.
It is packed with information about Maidenhead Boundary Walk, a sponsored walk run every October by Rotary that sees hundreds of people taking part to raise money for charity.
Positioned next to Boulters Lock, near the start of the 13-mile walk, the information board features a map of the route, the history of the event, and interactive QR codes linking to the Boundary Walk website and a downloadable version of the map.
The Boundary Walk commemorates the centuries-old tradition of ‘Beating the Bounds’, in which the Mayor annually toured the boundary of the old Maidenhead Borough, and the board shows where historic boundary stones can still be found. The tradition was revived in its current form by Maidenhead Rotary Club and the East Berks Ramblers in 1982.
The information board was produced by Eddie Piekut of Maidenhead Bridge Rotary Club, which now jointly runs the event, as part of a Royal Borough innovation project.
He said: “The Boundary Walk is a historical asset for Maidenhead and something to celebrate. We hope the information board will be a point of interest for residents and help promote the walk route as a wellbeing activity.”
On its reverse, the board features a map of the old Maidenhead Borough and information about organisations like the Ramblers and Maidenhead Civic Society which have been involved in the event over the years.
Eddie said the Royal Borough plans to refurbish some of the boundary stones and route signage to improve year-round access.
This year’s Boundary Walk, which took place on Sunday, October 1, marked 50 years since the last official ‘Beating of the Bounds’ led by then mayor Euphemia Underhill in 1973.
For more information see www.maidenheadbridgerotary.org.uk/boundary-walk.html