Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Maggie's Culture Crawl 2014

Emdad Rahman

"Life is a shipwreck but we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats" ~Voltaire

One thousand walkers took part in the annual Culture Crawl for Maggie Keswick Jencks Cancer Caring Centres.

Participants from all over the country swamped the capital clad in brilliant Dutch Orange to head out into the night, discovering cultural, architectural and artistic delights, raising as much money as possible to help people living with cancer.

Working in partnership with Open House London, Maggie’s Culture Crawl is a 15 mile night-walk, part cultural adventure.

From the Foreign Office, to Fulham Palace by way of the Serpentine Sackler Gallery, all the walkers were encouraged to and got exclusive access to all these buildings and many others.

George Clark got the Crawl rolling and venues along the route included many of London's most iconic buildings: Chelsea Physic Garden - a walled garden that celebrates the beauty and importance of plants, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Foster + Partners Studio.

Also on the menu was Fulham Palace - Dating back to 700, a Tudor manor house with Georgian additions and a Victorian chapel, and Maggie's West London - The first Maggie’s in England.

There was also a visit to the Serpentine Sackler Gallery, a new cultural destination in the heart of London designed by Zaha Hadid Architects.

The Foreign Office kickstarted the evening and hosted a 4 minute ballet performance.

The night finished at the The Royal Festival Hall. Opened in 1951 as part of the Festival of Britain, the Grade I listed Hall is one of the world’s leading performance venues. Last year there were over 4 million visitors to The Royal Festival Hall which hosts musicians, comedians, dancers, artists and films. The Clore Ballroom which sits beneath the main auditorium will be welcoming our Culture Crawl participants at the end of their 15 mile journey around London.

At each stop there was delicious food all along the way. This was mightily impressive and surpassed last years superb arrangements. Each stop was like a visit to Mr Willy Wonka.

The standout feature was the friendly chat and banter with fellow walkers. For me, each exchange was simple, brief but memorable. I will most likely never see any of these people ever again.

The walk route was first route and the mouth waters at the prospect of just how better the organisers can make the route. I'm fully confident that the route will continue to become more cultured (enjoyable) as each year passes.

I had a buddy with me this year with Omar accompanying me. I made my excuses early, citing my recently healed Achilles as reason for not speeding the route. Nevertheless we were told that we finished in the top 100.

No offence to the comedy performance
but we didn't hang around after getting our medals. I had a full Saturday in store. The ever reliable Chach and Mabs were ready and waiting to whisk us home.

Bravo to the organisers and the volunteers. You're all just simply amazing.

For further information and to sign up for next year please visit - https://www.maggiescentres.org/culturecrawl/

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