Barnet Catholic schools join charity walk

Laura Ouseley on Barnet’s role in CAFOD’s Big Lent Walk

A group of Barnet schoolchildren taking part in a charity walk
Credit – St Catherine’s Catholic Primary School

Barnet residents driving up Barnet Hill one Thursday last month may have wondered why hundreds of primary school children were marching up the hill alongside them. Over 450 pupils, staff and parents from St Catherine’s Catholic Primary School in High Barnet were taking part in CAFOD’s ‘Big Lent Walk’.

They join thousands of individuals, families, schools and parishes across the country who are taking part in the challenge, which involves walking 200km over the 40 days of Lent to raise funds for the work of CAFOD (the Catholic aid agency for overseas development) in tackling poverty worldwide.

Anyone can take part in the Lent challenge and cover the distance in whichever way suits them. Most people aim to walk 5km a day over the 40 days of Lent, and for St Catherine’s pupils, the challenge saw the whole school taking part in one Big Lent Walk around Barnet.

As Maureen Kelly, headteacher at St Catherine’s, said: “Our children are very keen to make a difference and have a positive impact on the lives of others. As a St Catherine’s community, we are inspired by the work of CAFOD helping people in extreme poverty across the world. The Big Lent Walk is the perfect opportunity to raise money by getting outside and getting active, and we hope our 430 children from reception to year six classes will inspire others to do the same.”

By taking part in the Big Lent Walk, the school has already raised over £1,200 for CAFOD’s work tackling poverty and injustice in over 40 countries around the world.

“The children at St Catherine’s learn from a young age about how they can make a difference and can have a positive impact on others,” explained Maureen.

“I am excited for the Big Lent Walk because we know we are helping people and its fun for us,” said year four pupil Darcey before the walk. “We get to go out of school and we know we are raising lots of money just by walking”.

“CAFOD helps people overseas who are less fortunate than us and don’t have the things to provide their family with – like food and safety” added Darcey.

Ava, a year six pupil at St Catherine’s said: “It is important to do these things in Lent because Lent is a time for coming together as a community, making sure that everyone is happy and everyone has all that they need. For example, with climate change, it can be hard for people to grow crops they would usually sell”.

St Catherine’s Big Lent Walk was a community event, with the children setting off on their walk following a short prayer service from Father John McKenna, parish priest at Mary Immaculate & St Gregory the Great Catholic Church in High Barnet. Whilst out on the walk the children were also able to explain to passers-by why they were doing the walk.

Catholic schools across the borough are taking part in CAFOD’s Big Lent Walk, including St Michael’s Catholic Grammar School in Finchley, and St Vincent’s Catholic Primary School in Mill Hill.

To donate to CAFOD’s work and find out more about the Big Lent Walk visit cafod.org.uk

Laura Ouseley is a Barnet resident and world news officer for CAFOD

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