Members of a Royal Wootton Bassett church are taking on a Seven Wonders of the World virtual charity fitness challenge.
Around 25 members of the Church of God in Swindon are taking part in the charity’s virtual fundraising challenge for Julia’s House children’s hospice.during lockdown, which will see them collectively cover 883 miles in total.
They hope to raise £1,000 for the local children’s hospice, which cares for some of the most seriously ill children and their families across Wiltshire.
The challenge involves virtually visiting the seen ancient wonders on foot through normal exercise, with an app tracking distance and progress.
Aged from just four to 80, the group quickly completed the Petra Trail via the virtual app and then decided to complete all seven wonders, with a combination of walking, running, cycling and rowing around their local area.
Church leader Lennie Shaw said: "It’s a real team effort and we’ve got all ages taking part. From young kids out walking and learning to ride bikes with their parents, up to one of our senior church elders, who has been speed walking up and down Flaxlands Lane to clock up the miles.
“Because of lockdown, we haven’t been able to see each other as we would normally, so taking part in this challenge for Julia’s House has been a great team-building activity to bring us all together and raise some money for a good cause.”
One of the youngest to take part is five-year-old Tobias, who is church youth worker Liz Hickling’s grandson.
Liz said: “As a church, we always look to raise money for local charities that don’t get support from government.
"Julia’s House doesn’t just provide care in their Wiltshire hospice, but their nurses and carers are getting out to families in their homes and meeting the needs of these children and their siblings and parents in the community too.
“We’re a small church but we have a lot of families and we run youth clubs, so the care that Julia’s House provides really resonated with us and we wanted to help however we could.”
Along with their family and friends, the evangelical church members are being supported in their challenge by more than 100 people all over the world who watch their virtual service each week.
Claudia Hickin, Community Fundraiser for Julia’s House, said: “We’d like to say thank you to everyone at the Church of God in Swindon for supporting our life-changing care for seriously ill children and their families in Wiltshire.
"It’s brilliant they’ve decided to take on all seven wonders for Julia’s House and we’ll be cheering them on every step of the way!”
People can support the effort via https://justgiving.com/fundraising/church-of-god-swindon, and further information about the challenge can be found at www.juliashouse.org/seven-wonders