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Tuesday 24 June 2020

Since lockdown began, across England and Wales, supporters of CAFOD, the international development charity, have ​been breaking into a sweat to achieve amazing feat​s of: walking, cycling, and even paddle boarding, nearly half a million miles – the same distance to the moon and back – all for CAFOD’s global coronavirus appeal.

Many activities and events have been cancelled because of lockdown. But that hasn’t stopped ​energetic women, children, young adults and men - CAFOD supporters and volunteers - raising vital ​money. ​They’ve spent the last ten weeks being the ​pace-setters coming up with creative ways to fundraise.

Their gold medal achievements have equalled over five million steps walked, one million exercise reps, over 1,000 miles cycled, and nearly 100 miles travelled on a paddleboard, yes a paddleboard!

Audra-Lynne Schlachter decided, along with her husband Graeme, to paddleboard along the river Wey in Sussex for the charity. She explained what inspired her challenge:

“As most sporting events this year have been cancelled, and most participants were raising money for their chosen charity, charities in general have been hit very hard by COVID-19.

“CAFOD supports communities around the world that are in crisis – including Zimbabwe and Zambia, which are dear to our hearts. Through self-sustaining projects, they aim to help those in poverty deal with hunger, lack of fresh water, climate change and lately, the challenges of COVID-19.”

So far, the couple has already raised enough to fund the equivalent of 57 family hygiene packs – containing soap, washing powder and reusable face masks – for communities who are most in need.

This desire to help others, inspired by faith, is what prompted Bernadette Goddard, 30, to spend the summer walking a 480-mile-long virtual pilgrimage.

When her trip to the Camino de Santiago was cancelled, Bernadette set her sights on raising money for CAFOD ​in support of the aid agency's response to the spread of coronavirus, in some of the world's poorest communities, where lives are at risk.

CAFOD's local aid experts on the ground are working with vulnerable and marginalised peoples to get messages out on how to keep safe from the virus - for example through radio broadcasts where adverts promote vital news and information to isolated communities.

Bernadette explained: “In 2014, I completed a gap year with CAFOD where I had the amazing opportunity to travel to Nicaragua to meet with some of the communities that CAFOD works alongside. There, I met some amazing women whose stories still impact me today.

“Having seen how much of a difference that CAFOD’s projects make, it only feels right to try and help in these difficult times.”

These challenges are only the beginning.

CAFOD recently launched their Summer of Hope – a campaign to inspire the nation to remain hopeful this summer by recreating cancelled events, virtually, while at the same time supporting communities in developing countries through fundraising for the coronavirus appeal.

Jo Kitterick, CAFOD’s Head of Fundraising and Participation, said:

“From donations like the astounding £200,000 gift from the company CPL Aromas to parishes and schools getting involved in creative and fun ways for our Summer of Hope, to the individuals fundraising in quieter ways, I have been truly inspired to see so many stand in solidarity with ​communities ​overseas who face the devastating effects of coronavirus spreading. 

​“Local aid experts we are supporting across Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East, tell us that lockdown in their respective countries is pushing families to the brink. Thanks to the support of families from across England and Wales, our ability to scale up our support to some of the most vulnerable people ​is saving lives. As we begin to come out of lockdown here in the UK, we need to remember that the coronavirus pandemic isn’t over.

“As the crisis continues to worsen for our sisters and brothers around the world, we will need the continued support from communities across the UK to help families in developing countries not only survive, but to rebuild and heal.”

Find out more at


For further information and photos please contact: Elouise Hobbs,, Mobile: +44 (0)7954 077426 | Landline: + 44 (0) 2920 344 882 Or, CAFOD’s 24-hour media hotline on +44 (0)7919 301 429 Hobbs,, Mobile: +44 (0)7954 077426 | Landline: + 44 (0) 2920 344 882 Or, CAFOD’s 24-hour media hotline on +44 (0)7919 301 429  

  1. CAFOD is the official aid agency of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, and part of Caritas International. Across the world we bring hope and compassion to poor communities, standing side by side with them to end poverty and injustice. Because we work through the local Church, we can reach people and places that others can’t.

  2. The cost of materials and resources varies in each of the countries that CAFOD works in, however, CAFOD provides illustrations of what donations could buy. This includes: £6 to buy a hygiene pack for a vulnerable family and £260 to pay for an awareness raising radio broadcast.