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Ash & Emily from Beeston & District’s Story - Walk for Ukraine

Updated: Aug 23, 2022

The following story is not, strictly speaking, within the scope of this Impact Report as it happened earlier this year, 2022. However, given the range and scale of this initiative and how it worked to galvanise efforts for Ukraine and reflected the power of inter-Table connections Nationally and Internationally we felt members would want it to be included.


Ash and Emily were at a Round Table Dinner when a challenge was set to try to raise £95,000 toward supporting Ukraine and its people. £95,000 by the time the organisation reached its 95th anniversary which was just two weeks away.


Driving home Ash and Emily had talked about the target and started to consider how they could contribute. In speaking to Ash, it reflected a tone I have heard from many other Tablers, one of energy, commitment and urgency, a trust in each other and a “let’s get this done” attitude. Much less about meetings and more about action. And Ash and Emily were about to get a great deal more active. Within hours they had hit on a plan and within days were putting it into action.


They decided to walk from the Table’s head office in Birmingham to the Ukrainian embassy in London, 126.8 miles in order to raise money and awareness for the Ukraine plight over four days.


It’s not about us doing the challenge, it’s not a vanity project, I don’t think we would have done this if we weren’t part of the Round Table Family - Emily is part of the Ladies Circle. We could do it because we knew we would have so much support from other Table and Circle members, and we were so right. Setting off from our home at 4.30 on a Thursday morning we were met in Birmingham by other members wanting to see us off or walk with us for the first few miles. We had someone doing the social media which meant people knew were we were and would come and walk with us.


Often there would be ten or fifteen other members walking by our side, bringing us treats, keeping us laughing and our spirits high. Individuals would walk with us first thing in the morning before going to work then come back when they were finished – it was amazing.


There were low points, when the weather was dreadful and we were walking at the side of busy roads, HGVs passing so close it was scary, but we managed to keep going because of the support and because we were all working together to raise money to help Ukraine.”


Sadly, on day four things go a lot worse for Ash. The miles, conditions and the damage done to his feet became overwhelming. Suffering from constant and violent shakes and severe pain as a result of badly infected feet Ash was advised to stop and, for a short while it looked like the challenge might be lost. Except of course, Round Table and its related organisations, Ladies Circle, 41 Club and Tangent were not about to let that happen. Within a few short hours other individuals came to the rescue, ready to walk with Emily and to finish what they had started. Emily walked on with Ash in the support car – joining in again whenever he could, even for a little while.


Eventually around at lunch time on 19:00 on day four the couple and the amazing support team around them made it to their end-point, the Ukraine Embassy.


Initially there had been no plan other than to complete the journey and raise as much money as possible but while the whole challenge had been on-going wheels were in motion. An ex-Circler who is now an MP, Jane Hunt MP had become aware of the walk and contacted the foreign Office who had alerted the Ukraine embassy who insisted on welcoming the party on their arrival.


Conscious of what terrible times the Ukraine was experiencing only four names were put forward for the welcome so as not to cause a burden. However, Ash was overwhelmed by the welcome they received. There were around 20 Round Table Family members outside the embassy and all were invited in due the wonderful Ukrainian hospitality.. They were all welcomed and thanked and spent time talking with the Ambassadors wife and the Deputy Ambassador before taking their leave and heading back home for rest and time to recover.


“We believe we raised around £20,000 for Ukraine, £16,900 went into the dedicated account created for the walk but we know other money was sent direct. That feels brilliant, we are so proud to be able to help and so grateful to everyone who was part of the team that made this happen. It’s hard to explain just how great it feels to be part of the Round Table Family and to be able to do what we do. It is so supportive and encouraging. It means you can have the courage to do brilliant things and means that there are always people around to help and encourage you.”


Its Personal


Once we had discussed the detail of the Ukraine walk Ash went on to talk more about his personal experience of getting involved with the Round Table. “It has completely changed my life for the better, and all because of a single google search that brought up Round Table GB & Ireland” Ash reflected on the 24/7 friendship and support he knew he could rely on and the difference it makes “you don’t ever have to feel alone”.


Round Table (RTBI) is a national association of local young man / men's club for those aged between 18 and 45. RTBI supports charities, the local community and its individual members through friendship and brotherhood. As part of the Round Table Family, RTBI is an inclusive organisation open to all individuals no matter their age or gender identification. To find out more visit our FAQs page or Contact Us.

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