My name is Jean Bennett and I am hoping to raise money & awareness for PAPYRUS. Nine years ago on a cold February night my beautiful daughter, Elayne took her own life after a troubled time in her life that left her unable to cope. She left behind a lovely daughter of almost 3 years old and a partner, mother, father & younger sister, not to mention lots & lots of close friends. Elayne had many amazing qualities. She was a gifted artist and she had gained 2 degrees, attending Birmingham University after taking A Levels. She was musical, playing keyboards, piano & clarinet. After University she became a teacher at Sutton Coldfield All Girl's Grammar School, before going out to teach at a school in Trivandrum in Southern India with her partner & 2 year old daughter. It was while she was in India that she became ill and suffered a breakdown, from which she never recovered and this sadly ended in her suicide.
We were all devastated but we have survived, finding a way to live again and it is this that has led me to volunteer for the excellent charity PAPYRUS. I work in the Warrington Office, undertaking whatever needs doing on the day and it sort of helps me to feel that I am playing a small part in helping to prevent other young people dying by suicide as Elayne did, thus bringing something creative out of our great tragedy.
EVENT - 'OUR CHALLENGE'
My husband Steve & I are planning to walk the Camino de Santiago in Spain, an ancient pilgrim route that dates back thousands of years. Another name for this long distance path is called 'The Way of St James' and it has been described as 'THE BIG ONE' It first captured our imagination last year when my daughter Jenny told me about a film called The Way starring Martin Sheen as a father whose son had died attempting to walk The Way. It is the father's story of how he took up the challenge to walk The Way for his dead son in his memory. At first I dismissed it as not do-able but every time I opened a magazine or a paper there seemed to be an article on this walk and it sort of grew and grew until I knew I had to walk it in memory of Elayne. I had been looking for a fund raising event to raise cash for PAPYRUS for some time and nothing had jumped out and grabbed me until now. So my husband & I both 60plus years are walking The Way of St James and hopefully raising some cash for PAPYRUS.
The walk itself starts in France at St Jean Pied de Port in the French Pyrenees and ends in Santiago de Compostella in Northern Spain. It is arduous and very long (780km) crossing the Pyrenees. We will carry our stuff on our backs in a rucksack and stay at pilgrim hostels along the way. The official time takes between 28 and 32 days but we are giving ourselves longer although we do expect to be walking at least 13 miles a day. We set off on 5th September 2014 and hope to reach Santiago by 11th October, flying back to England on 14th October, so we will be away approximately 6 weeks. If you are interested in our route there is a small map for you to look at on this page.
PAPYRUS is a marvellous charity, who urgently need your kind support, so please give as generously as you are able and thank you for taking the time to view my Just Giving page and reading my story. I can assure you that your donations will save many young lives.
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