06 March 2014 12:56

A group of four is tackling a walk around the entire island in 20 days in aid of two local charities, which may be a first for Cyprus.
Simon and Lynn Barter, Ade Berry and Tony Shaw started their island walk from Paralimini on February 26, and are accompanied by Arthur Carney who is providing support and logistics. The team are members of the Cyprus Freemasons - Lakeside Lodge, Paralimni, with the exception of Lynn as the club is a men-only membership.
The idea for the walk began four years ago when Simon cycled around the island for charity and decided a walk would be a good challenge.
The idea took much organisation to come to fruition, and the charities he chose to support are the Cyprus Anti-cancer Society and the Cyprus Alzheimer's Association.
Representatives of the charities, friends and family were all present at Paralimni town hall to see the group off on their 525-kilometre trek, which Simon says was emotional: "I am lucky to have my wife on the walk with me, but the other guys had to say goodbye to theirs, and 20 days is a fair amount of time to be away from home."
The team finished the first day at Ayia Thekla market where supporters met them and donations were made. After Paralimni, the team walked to Dhekelia, then Larnaca Airport.
From the airport they reached Alaminos/Zygi, then Limassol and Episkopi. At time of writing they were in Pissouri, with Paphos, Peyia, Latchi and Kato Pyrgos the next stops.
Thereafter, their walk will take them across the occupied north, all the way back round to Famagusta, and will finish in Paralimni on March 19.
Despite preparing, the reality of walking an average of five to seven hours a day (25-30 kilometres) is a lot tougher, as Simon says.
"We did lots of training prior to embarking on the walk, but it doesn't really prepare you for all the hills and the weather conditions. We have found it very tough and have suffered blisters, sore feet and sunburn as well as exhaustion, and Tony also contracted a chest infection on the first day.
"But it's nothing in the grand scheme of things when you consider what people in need of the two charities we are supporting are going through."
Simon is pleased with the donations so far: "Till now we have raised around €2,500 and would love to reach the target of €10,000. We want people's money! If everyone on the island donated one cent, then we would raise €800,000 for these two very worthy charities."
The team have collection tins on them during their journey where members of the public can make a donation, and are recognisable by their walk T-shirts and their support vehicle covered in identifying stickers. Cheques can be sent to: PO Box 33465, Paralimni 5314, written out to 'Lakeside Lodge'. Further opportunities to donate will be available at the finish party, to be held in Paralimni upon the walk's completion, as well as at the UKCA Club, Larnaca when an evening dedicated to raising funds for the walk will take place on April 5.
The team are posting regular updates of the journey and progress, photos and a video diary on their Facebook page: Round the Island Charity Walk, and welcome any support.


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