Faith in humanity restored

The participants of the BBC programme “Race Across the World” showed many of the qualities we hope will persist once the lock-down finishes.

Pairs of contestants raced 25,000 kilometres from Mexico to Patagonia on a very limited budget and without using air travel. The experiences they had, the humanity that was shown, and the kindness of strangers, restored one’s faith in human nature. A lady in Argentina invited a brother and sister who had run out of money to a family meal and somewhere comfortable to put down their sleeping bags. When asked why she did it she replied that she hoped her daughter who was also travelling the world would receive similar hospitality. A family of small holders welcomed a mother and her student son and became like family to their visitors who helped with the farm work. The British Pakistani uncle and nephew from Manchester, the final winners of the race by 20 seconds, restored their relationship after a family rift ten years ago. They agreed to give half of their £20,000 prize money to charities helping the starving street children they had seen living rough in Sao Paolo during their travels.

Perhaps one of the most meaningful conclusions was that instead of micro-managing their lives leaving nothing to chance, the contestants learnt to trust strangers and allow events to be outside their immediate control. The self-sufficiency we’ve come to depend on was challenged and replaced by faith in our common humanity. What a lesson as we contemplate coming out of lock-down!

The idea that by welcoming the stranger you may unknowingly welcome Almighty God, is contained in the writings of many world faiths. Could this be the timely challenge to our selfishness which coronavirus is giving our world?

Ruth Neal

Chair, Altrincham Interfaith Group

You can make a difference

Under normal circumstances, many thousands of people would have by now signed up to take part in an Alzheimer’s Society Memory Walk.

These hugely popular events bring people together in a variety of stunning locations to unite against dementia, whilst raising vital funds to support those affected by the condition. It would have been my 10th year attending such an event. While it saddens me that we can’t all get together this year, I’m determined with my family to walk my own way in memory of my nana.

Wherever you are, we can all still help make a difference and I encourage you to sign up either with your household – pets included – friends, or another household in line with current government guidelines. Create your own route, from lapping your garden or local park to revisiting somewhere special.

This year’s Santander-sponsored Memory Walk is free to register. Walks can be organised anytime between now and October – or you might choose to do it on 20 September to mark World Alzheimer’s Day.

Sign up now at and with every step, you’ll help change the lives of people affected by dementia.

Vicky McClure, Alzheimer’s Society Ambassador

Green Flag award for schools

The charity Eco-Schools is accepting applications from local schools to earn a free Green Flag certification.

Paid for by Frugi, this British organic kids wear brand is funding 150 schools in the UK to achieve this accredited eco-certification. Schools may be out for summer, but it’s a perfect time for schools to plan this activity for September.

Helping to raise the next generation of eco-warriors, the Eco-Schools global programme empowers kids and teens to take environmental actions to get their school and community involved. Pupils follow a Seven-Step programme that results in achieving an international Eco-Schools Green Flag Certification.

Find out more about the Eco-Schools programme and register for free on their website:

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