By Peter Stevenson
PADRE ANDREW Oliver, a 52-year-old British army chaplain from Northern Ireland is on the second day of a four day walk of the 180 kilometre long buffer zone to raise money for charity.
The fund raising-event, which started yesterday morning and is due to end on Tuesday, is in aid of two Nicosia charities, one in the north and one in the south of the capital, which help underprivileged children and battle against human trafficking.
Oliver who has raised money for charity in the past told the Sunday Mail that the terrain within the United Nations controlled buffer zone meant the walk was a real challenge.
“It’s an adventure, if you look at the distance, terrain and logistics it fits in with the British Army’s fitness regime and particularly with adventure training programmes,” he said.
He said he did not just want to walk the length of the buffer zone and not use it to benefit charity.
“I looked into which charities could support the walk and settled for one in the north and one in the government controlled areas,” he said.
“We have a fairly good idea what we have in front of us but time can be lost or gained depending on the terrain. If you divide 180km which is the buffer zone’s length, by four days you understand that we will need to walk quite a large distance,” he said.
“Through Virgin Money Giving, you can sponsor us and donations will be quickly processed and passed to charities,” he said
Virgin Money Giving is a non profit organisation and will claim gift aid on a charity’s behalf where the donor is eligible for this.
The first charity, SOS Children, has worked to help children in Nicosia since 1993. Its first project was a nursery with four classrooms and two assembly rooms and it serves children living in the town as well as those from the local area. In 2007, SOS Children began a family strengthening programme to support vulnerable families in need of support to remain together.
The second charity, Caritas Cyprus, is one of the smallest Caritas members worldwide but it has played an important role within the network, especially in the response to the conflict in Lebanon in 2006.
In the days after the July 12 outbreak of fighting in Lebanon, thousands of foreign nationals, many of them Lebanese holding foreign passports, fled to Cyprus en route to other countries. A staff of just two and 30 volunteers stepped in to help, providing translation services and whatever other assistance they could to the exhausted and often traumatised evacuees.
To make any donations to Oliver’s effort please visit: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/andrewoliver52