WALKING 60 miles along the River Thames is the task facing the Chronicle's news editor as he looks to help a noted animal attraction.
Chris Longhurst has been in charge of planning the pages of Hounslow’s local paper for two years.
This September he will lace up his comfiest shoes and attempt to negotiate the 100k stretch of the river from Putney in London to Henley-on-Thames in Oxfordshire.
It’s all part of the Thames Path Challenge, a fundraising extravaganza being organised for only the second time by the organisation Action Challenge.
Around 2,000 people are expected to walk, jog or even run the daunting distance in aid of their chosen charities. In Chris’ case he has decided to give a much needed shot in the arm to the ongoing fundraising efforts of Hounslow’s Urban Farm and Tropical Zoo.
The long-running 29 acre venue, in Faggs Road, Feltham, is owned by father and daughter team Tony and Alice Purdy who look after a wide variety of pigs, goats, cows, rabbits, ducks, and more.
People from far and wide, including large numbers of children on school trips, make daily visits to the farm to meet the animals and hear about what it takes to care for each and every one.
Education is at the cornerstone of all they do, and it is this devotion which has seen the farm attempting to raise £2million to build a new indoor rainforest.
The planning permission has already been granted, and once completed the building will be the new home of the Tropical Zoo which used to be located at Syon Park in Brentford until it was forced to close in February 2012.
The Chronicle has featured many stories of how the fundraising it going in its role as official media partner, but it wasn’t until the new Mayor of Hounslow Councillor Sachin Gupta announced he would spend his year in the role raising money for the project that Chris says he decided to sign up for the challenge.
He said: "We carried a story about the new Mayor and for some reason it just lit a fire in me to want to do my bit for the farm. Tony and Alice are incredible people who have a much-loved and vital resource which I genuinely believe does so much good both locally and further afield.
"I’d heard about the Thames Path Challenge and despite never having walked further than 20 miles in a day before it sounded like the perfect challenge for me. My fundraising is already underway and thanks to the generosity of people who know me I’m confident of reaching the £400 I need in order to qualify for the event.
"However, if I am to go even further and really give a big boost to the Tropical Zoo project then it is the readers of the Chronicle and anyone else who appreciates the farm and its work who I hope will be able to make a contribution to my efforts.”
The staff at the farm have been touched by Chris’ decision to support them, with Alice saying: “We are so incredibly grateful to Chris and the Chronicle for all their help.
"We really urge people to have a look at his Just Giving page and any sponsorship you can give will be hugely appreciated."
To sponsor Chris go to http://www.justgiving.com/Chris-Longhurst