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Thames Valley Adventure Playground volunteer celebrates achievements

An 81-year-old man who has walked his way to raising more than £34,000 for Thames Valley Adventure Playground (TVAP) has credited his sponsors for his achievement.

Hardev Singh Panesar, of Cordwallis Road, Maidenhead, began walking for charity in 1983 when he took part in his first of what was to be 28 Maidenhead Boundary walks.

At the time he was on the PTA of Newlands Girls’ School, where his daughters attended, and was previously on the PTA of St Luke’s School, attended by his son.

One evening he filled in for his wife at a PTA meeting at St Luke’s when they were talking about taking part in the Boundary Walk to raise money for the school.

“I said ‘if you’ve got someone walking, I will walk with them’,” he said.

“I raised £300 for the school and then I started walking every year.”

In the years that followed Hardev raised funds for charities including the Guide Dogs for the Blind

Association, the League of Friends of St Mark’s Hospital, Thames Hospice and Great Ormond Street Hospital.

In 1987 he did the walk to raise funds for Thames Valley Adventure Playground and was then invited to a function at the centre in Bath Road by the then chairwoman Barbara Prior.

Hardev said: “That is when I found out exactly what they were doing.

“I could not speak to Mrs Prior at that moment, I was crying.”

From then on, the owner of Fix An Auto Ltd, a car garage in Burnham, made TVAP the main charity he donated to every year.

In 2009, Hardev considered not completing the walk but, with one week left to go, he had a change of heart.

“I said, ‘I can’t let those children down’ and in that week I still got sponsors, and I raised £3,500,” he said.

In 2011, Hardev stopped doing the Boundary Walk and instead began part in TVAP’s Spring Walk, which takes place in June in Windsor Great Park.

There were 70 walkers taking part this year and out of the £3,870 raised overall, Hardev contributed £2,060.

“I want to thank the people who sponsored me and helped me to raise the money,” he said.

“Without them I could walk miles and miles but at the end of it, if there’s no money that’s no good.”

He added: “I enjoyed the walks. I got wet once – I think God knows what I’m doing, he knows I’m doing it for a good cause.”

Engagement manager at TVAP, Reama Shearman said: “Mr Panesar and his family, who have also been involved over the years, have heard many stories of how TVAP ‘helps us all cope’ and is a ‘lifesaver’ to the families who are part of the TVAP community.

!Their stories have increased his passion and resolve to impact upon the lives of those that can be all consumed by the challenges that disability can bring.”

She aded: “We are so very lucky to have a supporter who embodies the message that one person really can make a difference and change people’s lives, Mr Panesar is an incredible champion of our charity and we are honoured that he has heard the stories of our beneficiaries and decided to help. What a man.”

Find out more about TVAP at www.tvap.co.uk/

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