Linking Lives UK and Chapter2 have been the beneficiaries from a marathon 13-day sponsored walk along Offa’s Dyke, carried out by a father and his two sons.

The Offa’s Dyke Path runs from Chepstow to Prestatyn, and Kevin Jesty and his sons Tom (15) and James (18) decided to take up the challenge earlier in 2023.

Offa’s Dyke Path is a 177 mile (285 Km) long walking trail passing through eight different counties and crossing the border between England and Wales more than 20 times!

They began on 18 August and crossed the ‘finish line’ on 30 August. They mostly camped along the way and were hit by Storm Betty which came across Wales on their first night! Averaging 14 miles of walking each day, they made great progress each day, despite the inevitable painful feet and limbs!

When planning the challenge, they saw the opportunity to raise funds for charity at the same time. The Christian charities selected focus on contrasting groups of people. But interestingly both find inspiration for their work in the same Bible verse “A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families …” (Isaiah 68:5-6)

Chapter2 works to address the impact of fatherlessness on boys and young men in Reading, Berkshire. Boys without fathers grow up to face far more challenges than your average boy. Unemployment, academic failure, depression, chronic illness, anxiety and poverty later in life are far more likely for fatherless boys. By providing these boys with a positive male mentor, Chapter2 helps to rewrite hope into their story. The mentoring is one-to-one, long-term and activity based.

The support raised from the fundraising walk will help Chapter2 to train, assess and support more mentors for more boys on our growing waiting list. Founder and chair of trustees Dr Richard Kay sums it up, “What we are trying to do is harness what’s in the community. Find good men, recruit them and train them. We work in partnership with the churches in Reading, where we recruit from congregations and we also work in the wider community.”

Linking Lives UK is a Christian charity working with churches, Christian organisations and other agencies that have an interest in addressing social isolation and loneliness among older people.

This is achieved through the establishment of befriending schemes using a tried and tested approach in which volunteers visit or telephone those requesting the service.

Other activities include regular volunteer training called ‘Good Conversations’ for those involved in community events and activities on a local level and the ‘Power of One’ webinar.

National Director, Jeremy Sharpe, explains “The money raised through this challenge will enable us to build more links with churches and Christian groups to support those struggling with loneliness to engage with the wider community.”

At time of writing, £1,800 and £1,200 has been raised for Chapter2 and Linking Lives UK respectively and any further donations will be a real encouragement.

Donations can still be made to both charities online:
Chapter2 – or search Just Giving for ‘Jesty Chapter2’

Linking Lives UK – (or search Stewardship for ‘Jesty Linking Lives’)