Blisters supporters brave the cold

Participants in the Blisters for Bread charity walk on Sunday, at Green Point Cricket Club.

Despite weather forecasters warning about the cold front approaching the city this past weekend, Capetonians came out in numbers for the 50th anniversary of the Blisters for Bread charity family fun walk.

The annual walk took place at the Green Point Cricket Club on Sunday, August 26, with two routes along the Sea Point Promenade.

The 10km started at 7.30am and the 5km at 8am.

This is an annual initiative of the Peninsula School Feeding Association ( PSFA), an organisation that aims to reduce short-term hunger, enhance children’s ability and increase school attendance.

The first Blisters for Bread fun walk was organised in 1968 by 146 boys from Savio College in Lansdowne, and some of the original walkers were present for the 50th anniversary on Sunday.

One of them, Francois Prestol, flew down from Nairobi, Kenya, for the occasion.

Mr Prestol said he was impressed and proud that the walk had reached this milestone. He said it was a special moment to come back and see how the PSFA had grown the walk into a beautiful event that united people.

Recalling the very first walk in 1968, Mr Prestol said they had trekked more than 30km from Simon’s Town to Lansdowne.

About 150 pupils and staff had walked in May of that year and raised more than R3 000.

“It was a success financially because we were approached by PSFA to see if we could assist them in their fundraising.

“It was one of the first charity walks in the Cape, and when we approached the police, they had no idea what a charity walk was. They asked whether it was a religious procession, and we said no.

“It was something they had never policed before,” said Mr Prestol.

He said he was thrilled that Blisters for Bread had helped so many children over the years.

“It’s quite extraordinary when you think it all began with something very small to become this big. This goes to show that you never know the lives you’ll touch when you try and do something good and reach out to people in need, especially children,” he said.

The director of the PSFA, Petrina Pakoe, said they had received more than 11 000 entries this year and were grateful to everyone who had taken part.

“Fifty years was a massive milestone. People have come to be part of this despite the weather conditions outside, and we had the original walkers, we do not take this lightly; we thank everyone who’s been part of this event,” she said.

Kevin Lodge, of the Top Events, which administers the Blisters for Bread Walk, said they had been worried about the weather, but, in the end, it hadn’t kept people away.

He said they had been working closely with the PSFA for the past 14 years doing what they could to support its slogan: “You can’t teach a hungry child.”