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Fundraising for RedR UK at the London Marathon Walk: meet Barry and Monique Sillito

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"You know there is a feeling you get in life when you are doing a good thing. It gives you a warm glow."

The countdown for London Marathon Walk has started and the RedR UK team is getting ready to face this fun challenge. To inspire the participants and invite more people to join us on 10 September, we share here this amazing interview with Barry Sillito, who will be taking part in the event for the second time. 

Aged 75, Barry is a retired Structural Engineer who already supported our organisation at the London Marathon Walk in 2019, along with his wife Monique. He chatted with us about his motivations to be a fundraiser for RedR UK and join our team in such a challenging activity. You can read below the full interview.

While Barry and Monique are getting prepared for this year's challenge, they are also fundraising for RedR UK. You can support their efforts by donating here.

Barry and Monique at the London marathon walk in 2019
Barry and Monique at the London marathon walk in 2019

Read the full interview with Barry Sillito

You took part in the Marathon Walk 2019 and raised over £1k. How did you find the whole experience (both in terms of walking and fundraising)? What was your biggest challenge?

My wife and I have enjoyed long distance walking for several years, Coast to Coast, West Highland way, Offa Dike Yorkshire Wolds. The opportunity to walk London and raise money for RedR UK was a big incentive. The experience in 2019 was exceptionally pleasant, apart from a couple of blisters on the balls of my feet for the last 10 miles, but the organisers and the participants were so friendly and joyful, the walk was almost like a 26-mile-long party. Everyone seemed to be smiling talking about, where they had travelled from, who or which charity they were supporting. The day passed like a dream.

What inspires you to take part in the London Marathon Walk again? 

I suppose it’s the old reason of not admitting the passage of time and the departure of youth, together with recapturing that dream day experience, while feeling good about raising money and doing good for those in dire need.

How are you preparing for this year's event?

During Covid-19, my wife Monique and I did and still do our best to walk at least 3 times a week, a couple of miles across the Moss towards Halsall, round Southport’s Marine Lake, up to the Hillside Roundhouse hill, and occasionally round the Royal Birkdale Golf course boundary. We are members of Victoria Gym and go perhaps twice a week on tread mill, steps, and cycle. I swim but Monique’s not that keen on water. For the 14th of July Bastille Day, as my wife is French, we walked up Snowdon and she took the tricolour to claim it for Macron.

When taking part in this event and fundraising for RedR UK, how do you feel? 

You know there is a feeling you get in life when you are doing a good thing. It gives you a warm glow. Giving of time and money to someone in need makes you feel good about yourself, perhaps because you are off setting all those other times in your life when you were nasty and selfish.

Why do you support RedR UK?

RedR UK and their principle of going to disaster areas and training up the locals is an excellent idea. It reminds me of the old adage, “Give a man a fish and he can eat for a day; but give a man a pole and teach him to fish, and he can feed himself and his family for the rest of his life”.

Any words of wisdom for anyone else thinking about taking part in this or similar events in support of RedR UK?

Be courteous in requesting sponsors for money and respect their wishes if they are reticent. Explain what RedR UK do in disaster areas and give a few examples. Reassure you sponsors that travel and accommodation expenses are from your own pocket. Update your story on “JustGiving” with training and other activities leading to the event, and don’t forget to thank everyone you have approached for sponsorship. And finally, don’t treat the walk as a race or a competition take time to smile and thank those watching and enjoy the experience. 

In your opinion, what is relevance of people supporting and fundraising for charities? 

We perhaps as a society have become too reliant on institutions, governments, established charities and leave helping the unfortunate victims of events to those “organisations”  Very often statements are uttered by our piers such as,  “they should prevent that” or “ why don’t the government do something?”, “ where is UNICEF when you need them?” The very act of fund raising encourages the participant to investigate the solution and become active rather that passive.

Like the man says, “In life the more you put in the more you get out”.

Feeling inspired?

You can join Barry, Monique and the RedR UK Team at the London Marathon Walk, on 10 September. It will be a nice opportunity to challenge yourself, get to meet our team and support our work. See you there!

You can claim your place by contacting our Fundraising team at fundraising@redr.org.uk.