Charity Walk - Kayak - Cycle for Opora
17 April 2023
This summer, together with Chichester-based doctor Adrian Hamilton, Edward Cooke will walk, kayak and cycle to raise much-needed funds to help support people fleeing the terrors and trauma of war in Ukraine.
From 29th May to 3rd June 2023, Edward and Adrian will travel 86.1 miles from the London Shard to beautiful West Wittering beach, along a route closely following Stane Street, the ancient Roman route linking the capital with the West Sussex coast.
Charity Walk-Kayak-Cycle: Supporting the vital work of Opora
Their goal? To support the vital work of Opora, a small but transformational charity dedicated to supporting Ukrainian families in settling and sustainably rebuilding their lives in the UK, with a particular focus on mental health.
Founded in February 2022 at the outbreak of the invasion of Ukraine, Opora has already provided reliable support and information to over 20,000 Ukrainians who have come here through the Homes for Ukrainians and Family schemes. It aspires to proactively approach the problems people face so that they have the best possible chance of living safe, sustainable and fulfilling lives in the UK.
Supporting a full-time Ukrainian mental health specialist
Opora has now identified a critical need to recruit a full-time Ukrainian mental health specialist onto its team, in order to provide a service to Ukrainians across the country who have been affected by the enormous trauma of the war.
As a result, on the charity’s advice, Edward and Adrian are focusing on raising enough funds to help make this vision a reality.
Mental health support is something both feel passionately about. As a family lawyer and mediator, Edward supports people going through the trauma of separation, while Adrian is a Royal Naval doctor and GP and looks after individuals with mental health needs on a daily basis. Edward also has a long-standing interest in the region, having lived, worked and travelled in Russia and Ukraine back in the 1990s. Edward said:
“Chichester has welcomed the highest proportion of refugees from Ukraine in the country.
“My wife is part of the team at our local secondary school which supports a considerable number of Ukrainian students and their families. We have made some wonderful Ukrainian friends over the past year - but it’s almost impossible to wrap our minds around what they have to deal with on a daily basis.
“When Adrian and I came up with the idea of walking from the Shard to the Shore, we really wanted to use this opportunity to support Ukrainians in the UK who are facing exceptional challenges.
“A Ukrainian friend told us about the remarkable hands-on, constructive and sustainable work being done by Opora to help Ukrainians living in the UK. Yehor, Stanislav and the rest of the Opora team are hugely impressive, so it’s an honour and an opportunity to be able to help in whatever way we can. Hopefully we can raise enough funds to really make a difference to mental health support for people living through the unimaginable horrors of war.”
To find out more, please contact Edward.
To donate, please go to https://www.justgiving.com/page/shardtoshore