Fundraisers walked, jogged and ran for more than 3,500 miles around the track at Aldersley Stadium in Wolverhampton on Saturday, July 1, during the Best Foot Forward event, raising nearly £12,000.
The unique event, devised and organised by the Rotary Club of Wolverhampton which has about 60 members, saw £1 donated to chosen charities every time someone completed a 400-metre lap of the track at the event last month.
Each time a lap was completed, £1 from the £11,800 pot was split between the three Wolverhampton based charities.
The charity kitty was made up of a minimum of £250 donations from 40 patron organisations, including the Express & Star, Jaguar Land Rover and Marston’s.
The track was lapped more than 14,000 times – the most since the event was launched in 2013.
The groups handed the cash were Wolverhampton MS Therapy Centre, Central Youth Theatre and the Rotary Charitable Trust.
Jane Ward, founder and director of Central Youth Theatre, said the £4,000 donation was from the event was ‘special’.
She said: “It’s very hard when you’re a small charity to promote yourself to commercial sponsors so it is very special to us.
“It allows us to carry on doing the incredible work we do with young people, taking them all over the world, exploring their local heritage, giving them access not just to performing but also learning key life skills.
“We are very grateful for being chosen by the Rotary club.”
As well as representatives from most of the patrons, the Mayor of Wolverhampton Councillor Elias Mattu welcomed guests to his parlour. Councillor Mattu, who is an honorary Rotarian, said: “It is a wonderful initiative and I hope that this will keep going for many years to come.”
Geoff Lowndes, head of Wolverhampton’s Rotary Club’s organising committee, said: “I would like to go back to look in more detail at what actually happened at Aldersley on that Saturday in July.
“The funds for the charities were in place. What we needed was feet to log the laps to release those funds for the charities and we got our feet. We couldn’t have done this without the 450 people who took the time to come to Aldersley to add their personal laps to everyone else’s laps, and in doing so, to release the Patron’s Treasure Chest.
“The total number of laps this year was an event record with 14,252 laps – more than enough to release all the charity funds donated by the patrons.
“Such is the progress of the event that this year’s laps were nearly 50 per cent more than in 2013.”
Alongside cheque presentations, there were a series of special mentions from Wolverhampton Rotary Club including for the RAF who have been supporting the cause since 2013. Nearly 70 trainees from RAF Cosford took part with six teams of trainees battling for the most laps in their four hour slot.
This year’s winners were Team Typhoon who amassed 687 laps – the second highest ever and setting the pace for Typhoon was Ryan Harbour, who clocked 127 of those laps, securing his place in the BFF Centurions Club. There was also special mention for seven-year-old William Hughes, who completed 53 laps, gaining a special certificate from the mayor.
Another family received a special certificate after they went the extra mile and beyond by clocking nearly 600 laps between them. Todd Green from the Smith/Green family completed 104 laps, only to be out-gunned by wife Kellie who managed 106 laps. Her mother, Tina, did 185 laps, while her father Fred, delivering on a vow he made last year, to became a double centurion with 203 laps. This feat was matched by Earl Edwards who reached 200 laps and since 2013 Mr Edwards has clocked more laps in total than any other ‘best footer’.
Since 2013, the total benefit to charity from Best Foot Forward stands at more than £98,000.
The idea stems from a similar long-lasting event in Monaco.
The next Best Foot Forward will take place at Aldersley Stadium on July 7, 2018 – for more information, go to wolverhamptonbestfootforward.com