On Thursday, June 9, a wonderful group of supporters met at Celtic Park and travelled to Dalmally to start a three-day trek from the home of Mary’s Meals, to Celtic Park, in aid of both Celtic FC Foundation and Mary’s Meals.
Each supporter was tasked with raising a minimum of £500 and walking a total of 67 miles – including negotiating some incredibly challenging terrain in horrendous weather conditions. The trek also involved a stop at St Mary’s, Calton, marking the spot where Celtic FC began back in 1887 as we continuously strive to honour Brother Walfrid’s charitable vision to this day.
The three days were filled with many different obstacles for every walker but their extraordinary efforts and unfailing commitment are hugely appreciated by both the Foundation and Mary’s Meals. With fundraising still ongoing, the group have raised a phenomenal net total in the region of £10,000, which will be shared equally between the two charities. This would not have been possible without the selfless acts of the entire group and those who supported them. We are extremely grateful and proud of all of those who took part and contributed.
There is still time to support the group’s efforts by making a donation HERE.
Arriving early morning on day one, our 21 participants were eager to get going and head to “The Shed”, the birthplace of Mary’s Meals, a charity which has since gone on to feed 2.2million children each and every school day. After some very generous hospitality and a word of thanks from both Tony Hamilton, Chief Executive of Celtic FC Foundation, and Thomas Black, Major Giving and Partnerships Manager at Mary’s Meals, the group headed off on their way.
- Day 1 – The first day’s route was off the beaten track, travelling 15 miles to Inverarnan and the first stop at the historic 300 year-old Drover’s Inn. Trekking through forests, glens and valleys, the group walked in challenging conditions, avoiding bogs and ditches and showing tremendous willpower to meet the challenge, arriving at their destination for 6pm.
- Day 2 – After another early start, the group joined the West Highland Way and headed south to Drymen, with a few comfort stops in between to rest those weary legs. A top up on emergency blister plasters, chocolate and water helped them on their way. With the Scottish summer weather being as volatile and unpredictable as always, the group took a battering as they encountered long spells of wind and rain, among some rarer periods of sunshine. This was the biggest challenge so far with 26 miles covered and up to 12 hours of walking for some, with the last of the group arriving just after 9pm to a hero’s welcome.
- Day 3 – Leaving Drymen before 9am, the group completed the final miles of the West Highland Way section of the trek as they reached Milngavie, before heading in the direction of Glasgow. The group battled through the rain via the tracks alongside the River Kelvin, and then joining Maryhill Road before heading through the city on the way to St Mary’s, Calton. Having visited the humble beginnings of Mary’s Meals on Thursday, a chance to see where it all began for Celtic gave the group the final boost needed before heading to Celtic Park. In good spirits and fine voice, the group left their final stop at St Mary’s, before completing another mammoth 26-mile day by arriving at Paradise.
An obligatory Huddle in front of the Brother Walfrid statue seemed a fitting finish to the long and grueling three-day challenge, which ended in a total mileage of that magic number, 67. Family members gathered on the Celtic Way to greet the group, many of whom limped into the stadium as stories were shared and congratulations given all round before the group headed their separate ways.
Tony Hamilton, the Foundation’s Chief Executive said: “With the cost of living crisis so evident across the world right now, it’s important that we shine a light on the work both ourselves and Mary’s Meals do in relation to tackling food poverty. Through the Miles for Meals event, our supporters have helped to mitigate these challenges, allowing us to continue to support those who’re struggling most via initiatives such as the Foodbank partnerships. It will also assist Mary’s Meals to continue the invaluable work that they’ve been doing over the past 20 years.
“We are eternally grateful to both the walkers and their supporters for their outstanding backing at what is a very challenging time for so many.”
Thomas Black, Major Giving and Partnerships Manager at Mary’s Meals, added: “It is because of the kindness of those who believe in our work and carry out little acts of love – like this challenging 67-mile trek from Dalmally to Celtic Park – that we have been able to reach desperately hungry children for 20 years. We are incredibly grateful to everyone who took part, and for all the support Celtic FC Foundation has given to Mary’s Meals.”
Thank you for making a difference to the lives of so many.
If you’re interested in taking part in other Foundation fundraising initiatives going on throughout the year or if you’d like to fundraise on behalf of the Foundation please get in touch at [email protected] or on 0141 551 4321.