The Via Francigena Five on their departure from Durban Airport
|As the whole of Italy turns out this week to celebrate its Soccer World Cup win, a small group of South Africans currently in Italy will be cheering too, but for an entirely different reason.|
They will be toasting the end of a 700km walk along the Via Francigena, the old pilgrim's route from Lake Geneva in Switzerland, across the Alps and down through Italy to Rome - a daunting journey of one-million steps.
|Dubbed the Via Francigena Five, the group is made up of Val Mcgreal, marketing director of real estate giant Homenet and four girlfriends from KZN, who began their 28-day odyssey on 16 June and are right on track to reach Rome by Thursday 13 July.|
This means that they are also set to reach their goal of raising R50 000 for charity through sponsorship of their walk. These funds have been earmarked to buy Christmas gifts this year for needy and lonely children in homes and hospitals.
Each Homenet office will donate R200 when (not if) the VF Five make it to Rome, and since the group has more than 160 offices around the country, this will total more than R32 000. Additional contributions have also been pledged by mortgage originator Bond Choice, several of Homenet's suppliers and the VF Five's friends and families.
And since every R15 raised will purchase a JR Cuddly Toy (see pic), they should be able to distribute more than 3000 of these toys to the various Homenet zone offices so they can take them to the hospitals and children's homes of their choice in time for Christmas."
Additional and private donations are of course also welcome, and can be deposited into the Homenet Child Welfare Account, Standard Bank branch 04-33-26, account no 051 697 548, with the letters JR and a name as the reference.
Meanwhile, those who would like to read about the VF Five's adventures and experiences on the long road to Rome should visit www.vfpilgrims.blogspot.com