Maidenhead Boundary Walk 2021
Boundary Walk raises £15,000 for 39 charities
Almost £15,000 was raised for 39 different charities by walkers taking part in the 40th Rotary Club Boundary Walk on Sunday.
More than 350 participants stepped out in aid of their favourite causes for the annual sponsored walk. While most completed the traditional 13-mile circular route around the town, others followed a new 5km family route introduced this year to ensure the event was accessible to walkers of all ages and abilities.
The highest single amount of sponsorship was £2,500, raised by a 55-strong team led by Rotarian Gurdip Bahra in aid of the Makindhu Dental Project, which provides vital dentistry to a rural community in Kenya.
The event is based on the tradition of ‘beating the bounds’, a walk around the boundary of the old Maidenhead borough which dates back to the town being given its charter in 1582.
It is organised jointly by the Rotary Club of Maidenhead and Rotary Club of Maidenhead Bridge which deployed nearly 60 volunteers to man checkpoints and marshal road crossings along the route.
This year saw the Boundary Walk return to business as usual after being held in a special ‘bubble’ format last year due to Covid-19 restrictions.
Event chairman Jim Howles said: “Despite the number of walkers being down, which we think is due to people still being cautious
after lockdown, the amount raised for good causes was absolutely fantastic and up there with some of our busiest years.”
Fellow organiser Lisa Hunter added: “It was really wonderful to be back for our 40th anniversary and to see the happy, smiling faces of those taking part.”Maidenhead MP Theresa May once again joined walkers for the start of the walk, along with Royal Borough Mayor, Cllr John Story, and Rotary district governor Karen Eveleigh.
Mrs May said: “It’s great to see the Boundary Walk back to normal. It is such an important feature of the Maidenhead year. It’s lovely to see so many people coming along and participating.
“It’s really important that people are out today raising money for charities as they have found it really difficult during the pandemic as most of their fundraising events have not been able to take place.”
Walk in the footsteps of history
Did you know the popular charity fundraiser has its roots in a much older local tradition?
The event, on the first Sunday in October, has become one of the town’s biggest charity fundraisers and this year is celebrating its 40th anniversary with the addition of a new 5km route for families.
But walking the main 13-mile route following the boundary of the old Maidenhead Borough harks back to the very origins of Maidenhead itself and the granting of a ‘Charter of Incorporation’ which brought the Borough of Maidenhead into being in 1582.
It became a tradition for the Mayor to get beaters to drive square-headed nails into posts and walls along the boundary route, each bearing his initials on its head. So was born the tradition of ‘beating the bounds’.
By 1934 the boundary of the borough was marked by stones – many of which can still be seen today – and during the walk the mayor would tap each one with the ceremonial mace to ‘reinforce’ the boundary. The last official ‘beating the bounds’ was in 1973, when Euphemia Underhill was Mayor.
But in 1982 the Boundary Walk as we know it today was resurrected by Rotary and the East Berkshire Ramblers to help mark the 400th anniversary of the granting of the charter and became an annual fundraising event.
Originally held on the last Sunday of September, the date was changed to the first Sunday in October as it clashed with Harvest Festival church services. While other changes over the years have included a shift to online booking and sponsorship, the event remains at its heart an opportunity for people to walk in aid of their chosen charities.
Now run as a joint project by Maidenhead and Maidenhead Bridge Rotary Clubs, the Boundary Walk will be back to normal in October after being held in a ‘bubble’ format last year due to Covid-19 restrictions.
Both routes start and finish at Boulters Lock car park and follow a fully signposted path with checkpoints manned by Rotary marshals. The family route is a nice circular stroll via Guards Club Park, Oldacres and the A4.
There is a registration fee to take part which covers administration costs including route maps and completion certificates. All sponsorship raised goes to the walker’s chosen charity.