Groups give event a major boost
Group participation in the 26th annual Catlin End-to-End looks set to be a major highlight of tomorrow's walk.
There are several repeaters who will be joined by even more new groups this year.
Chairwoman Anne Mello said as of yesterday morning 1,700 participants had signed up. She was hopeful that last year's total of 2,600 participants will be matched.
“We're thrilled with the group participation, whether they're work, social clubs or schools, the groups bring a lot of spirit to the event each year,” she said.
“Despite the challenges facing Bermuda, we are excited that sign-ups for the 2013 Catlin End-to-End are as strong as ever, and in fact our participants are slightly ahead of last year's record-breaking amount of funds raised for deserving Bermuda charities.
“It looks like the weather will be lovely, and we look forward to seeing the overflowing community spirit as thousands of our neighbours, family, and friends participate in this personal physical challenge and support Bermuda's good causes.”
The biggest group participating for the first time will represent the Grotto Bay Hotel. Lead organiser, Daniela D'Amato said the team includes friends and family plus employees.
“I decided to get a team together because it's a great opportunity to support our local charities and to do it in a fun and healthy way,” she said. “I encouraged employees to join in an effort to come together outside of our workplace to kick off the busy season ahead of us all in the name of charity.
Participants range in age from 11 to 55 and she admitted that they will be “winging it” to get to the finish line. “We all hope to make it in one piece and make it back to work on Monday,” she said.
Also included in the large group are “a couple of long serving employees”.
“We have Diane Simpson, who has been with us for 37 years as our Payroll Administrator, our General Manager JP Martens, Gerry Fernandes and George Gomes of our Maintenance Department. Both of them have been with the hotel for 18 years.
“The majority of our team members are doing the Middle-to-End walk and a couple will be biking the End-to-End, so we wish all participants good luck!
“We would also like to thank all of those involved with organising the Catlin End-to-End. It is a great fundraiser for our local charities that provide support to our community and Team Grotto Bay will be back again next year!”
They will join other large groups including the group known for walking in outlandish costumes.
Said Ms Mello: “The first Atlantic Commerce group plan to dress up as feral chickens this year, in previous years they've dressed as cavemen and ballerinas. We've also had Team Lunch on board whose members dressed as little 'Brittany Spears', who knows what they will do this year.”
Team Lunch became the third top fundraiser last year. An e-mail circulated to sign up participants said “the selectors have hunted far and wide and they believe they found the Island's preeminent 'Lunchers' — not an easy task”.
The End-to-End starts in St George's at 8am and the Middle-to-End starts from Albuoy's Point at 10am. And cyclists represent “the fastest growing segment” over the past ten years.
This event has raised $4.5 million for local charities since it started, the proceeds will go to an unusually high number of charities this year.
“We don't usually do that many but this year the need in the community was so great and we felt that these charities were doing some of the most important work in the community,” said Ms Mello.
There are at least 500 volunteers involved and plans are already underway to stage the next End-to-End in 2014.
“We have a magnificent board who organise and every board member delivers, it's a board that's committed, supportive and enthusiastic. The support of our sponsors and title sponsor allows us to give more money to the charities,” added Ms Mello.
Despite the current state of the economy she was hopeful they will reach their fundraising goal at a time when funds are so desperately needed in Bermuda.