Former UK legislator in 120-mile Zimbabwe charity walk
By Rebekah Chilvers for Lynn News
A former MP and his wife have kicked off a charity walk that will see them trek more than 100 miles in two weeks through Norfolk for the charity they founded.
Tom Benyon, who was MP for Abingdon in Oxfordshire between 1979 and 1983, his wife Jane and their dog Moses set off from Swaffham on Sunday for their 120-mile walk through the county.
They have since trekked through Houghton, Great Bircham, Holme and Burnham Overy Staithe for the charity ZANE (Zimbabwe – A National Emergency), averaging around 10 miles per day.
The hike is the 14th sponsored one that Tom and Jane, who are 81 and 74 respectively, have tackled for the cause, and will see them complete the challenge in Lowestoft on Sunday, September 17.
Tom said: “I founded a charity in Zimbabwe and we help thousands of pensioners who are destitute.
“There are no health or social services of any kind there and inflation is at 400%.
“A lot of people have long left Zimbabwe, leaving the elderly without any children behind.”
He added: “We have 28 people working full time in Zimbabwe and we are the only social service working in the country.”
The charity has raised millions for the country over the last 18 years, which also works to pay for operations to correct clubfoot in children and has an educational programme.
So far, Tom and Jane, who live in Oxford, have found the walk through Norfolk to be a “real joy”.
“It’s the most beautiful county,” he said.
“We have travelled through it before but have never known it properly.”
The couple are inviting others to join them on their trek, which will now take them through Wells, Blakeney, Weybourne and Caister-on-Sea before arriving at Lowestoft.
“The support has been very warming, people are hugely generous,” Tom added.
“The highlight has been lots of people coming and joining the walk with us.
“If anyone wants to come and walk, they can find our route on our website.”