Throughout the winter, question marks loomed over the chances of holding a large event like the Naked Heart Walk (NHW). Although we can’t be sure when social distancing might end, with more that eighty tickets already sold and having postponed the walk last year, we feel that we cannot disappoint everyone again.
The lock-downs we have experienced over this last year have highlighted some basic human needs – for green space and social interaction. These are undoubtedly big factors in the popularity of charity walks.
Why a Naked Walk?
As a young man I trained as a scientist; a discipline that relies on logic. Logic allows us to explore things like treating disease with the disease itself, as we do with vaccines. While the idea is easy to grasp, the development of vaccines has been long and complicated, in particular making them safe to use. However, when applied to social human beings, logic may seem less useful. For instance, it is difficult to work out why some people have an aversion to the naked body. Clothes seem far more important to people than simply keeping them warm, as many people continue to wear them even during very hot weather.
However, being naked offers far more than just being more comfortable, as I discovered when I was a teenager. Although not rebellious, somehow for me being naked suspends some of the social norms and provides a sense of freedom. We still don’t have a lot of private space as a rule, so being naked means getting outside, with all the added advantages of air, sunlight and green space that our bodies and minds need to be healthy.
Painshill Park – an enchanting and safe space for everyone
We chose Painshill Park, Surrey to encourage anyone who would like to try naked walking for the first time. We decided not to call it a naturist walk for the same reason.
Come and bring your friends and partners for a fun evening. If they wish to remain clothed they can. Although they can’t do the walk itself, they can enjoy the BBQ, the bar and a pleasant summer’s evening.
The fact that Painshill park itself has been able to survive the pandemic with substantially increased membership is also amazing and a testament to our shared human need for tranquil green space. If you haven’t been there, do check out their website, Facebook and Twitter posts and see what an ‘Alice in Wonderland’ landscape awaits you.
The British Heart Foundation funds around £16 million of research into AF
I considered myself just unfit as a teenager, but in my mid-30s I was diagnosed with a heart condition called atrial fibrillation (AF). This explained why exercise and commuting to work was a struggle for me. However, 25 years later, thanks to the ground-breaking work of the BHF, I was cured by an amazing surgical procedure called ablation. BHF funds research into AF to the tune of about £16 million annually, not only to try to end the uncomfortable and distressing symptoms of the UK’s 1.5 million sufferers, but also because of the connection between AF and strokes.
After several years as ‘In Memoriam Secretary’ processing over £100,000 of donations, I asked to combine my fundraising with my most important hobby, naturism – and the BHF had no hesitation in supporting me.
If you are a social nudist then we call ourselves naturists
My new post-operation life means that I now love socialising and meeting new people. Lock-down has been a positive time for naturists and our national organisation, British Naturism (BN). As a result it has benefited from an influx of many new members. I am also immensely grateful to BN for supporting the Naked Heart Walk and agreeing to provide the ticketing facilities to anyone who wishes to take part – naturist or not – from their website. Just like other aspects of life, BN has been providing online events for the first time this year and it has been very successful. There are lots of exercise classes, yoga, discussion groups, social chats and even naked cake baking.
Friends and family will appreciate your daring
We aim to get at least 100 walkers to take part and raise several thousand pounds for heart research in the process. This is needed now more than ever, as like so many other charities, the BHF’s income has fallen dramatically in 2020, meaning less research can be funded. The BHF funds research directly and supports many scientists in our Universities across the country.
Here are a few incentives to take part:
- It will be a BHF run event for 18+ adults
- You will be able to leave your clothes in your car and won’t need to carry backpacks that naturist walkers are normally obliged to carry
- Only ticket holders will be at the event so there will be no onlookers or passers-by
- Your details won’t be retained
- The event will run for 4 hours and a BBQ (The BBQ must be booked with your tickets. Meat and vegetarian options are available. You are welcome to bring your own picnic.) and a bar will be available
- In the company of naked people, anyone who finds nudity uncomfortable at first will discover that it all seems very normal after a few minutes
- The main walk is 5 kilometres by the lake and mostly flat
- An accessible and flat 2km path is also available, is fully wheelchair friendly and carers will be permitted clothed or not
- The walk will be good exercise and an enjoyably energising experience
- Your friends and family will appreciate your courage in walking naked and acknowledge this by sponsoring you generously.
Organiser East Sussex Coastal BHF fund raising group who are organising the Naked Heart Walk along with Hannah Miller of the British Heart Foundation and supported by Painshill and British Naturism
Source: East Sussex Coastal BHF fund raising group
Posted on NatCorn 18th May 2021
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