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Street Pastor embarks on second ‘7 for 70’ challenge

A Street Pastor who is turning 70 this month is embarking the Pilgrims Way, for the second of her seven ‘7 for 70’ challenges to raise money for Catching Lives

Denise Smith, from Broomfield, Herne Bay, is walking 85 miles from Southwark Cathedral to Canterbury Cathedral, over 10 days, finishing on July 11. 

Denise started her challenge on July 2 and has friends joining her on different stages of the walk and plans to start and finish each day at a church. 

She said: “It’s my intention to finish each day at a church, where I hope one of their clergy will pray us out the next morning.   

“I am 50 per cent excited and 50 per cent anxious all rolled into one. I’m concerned about those coming with me and whether I can make it myself.  

“I’m really chuffed that the Dean of Southwark Cathedral has offered to bless us on our journey – he said it was for a great cause.” 

Denise will finish the walk with a birthday celebration where she will generously have a collection for Catching Lives, alongside her sponsorship. 

Denise kicked off her milestone year with a sponsored indoor wall climb at Revolution Climbing Centre in Broadstairs in April. 

The retired writer and editor previously said: “As a Street Pastor, I often see homeless people; see them huddle in shop doorways with their sleeping bag and sheet of cardboard. I listen to their stories of lost jobs, bereavement, broken families, mental health issues, substance abuse.  

“This year I have a milestone birthday. I had thought to spend the year doing things I’ve never done before. Then I heard that Catching Lives was unable to run this year’s winter shelter. This really upset me. So, either I could sit and bemoan the loss or do something about it – I chose the latter.  

 “I decided to change the focus my milestone year; instead, dedicating it to raising funds towards the next Catching Lives Winter Shelter. I’ve called my campaign ‘7 for 70’. I hope to organise 7 events throughout the year to raise £7k towards the shelter.”  

Denise’s other planned events include a sponsored ‘Sing-a-thon’ or ‘Hymn-a-thon’ at St Martin’s Church in Herne and a series of raffles through Herne Bay Photographic Club. 

In the Autumn, she hopes to plan a sponsored paddle along the River Stour and, as a keen photographer, she is producing a 2025 calendar. She is open to ideas for her seventh challenge.  

Tasmin Maitland, Chief Executive of Catching Lives, said: “We’re really grateful to Denise for coming up with these exciting and ambitious challenges to mark her milestone birthday. Our Winter Shelter takes a lot of forward planning so it’s great to know our supporters are already behind us for the 2024/5 season.”  

 To sponsor Denise visit her JustGiving page.

Catching Lives will be posting updates of Denise’s ‘7 for 70’ challenge throughout the year, via our newsletter and via Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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