Supporters of Whitchurch Silk Mill will be joining a man who is undertaking a 2000-mile walking challenge to raise money for the trust.

Simon Coates is walking 10 miles a day, every day, for eight months to support 16 different charities across the south of England, of which the Whitchurch Silk Mill Trust is one.

This Saturday (April 24), six members of the trust, including five board members and the mill’s visitor experience manager, Lisa Gale, will be joining him in walking from Whitchurch to Longparish and back along the River Test.

Simon said: “Whitchurch Silk Mill brings to life for new generations the history of Britain’s oldest working silk mill still in existence, providing an opportunity for them to gain first-hand experience of the skills, techniques and methods used to create beautiful silk fabric in an industrial setting. It is a cause close to my heart.”

Simon decided to take part in a fundraising challenge for the charities after having previously walked, run and cycled the distance between London and Damascus as part of a team, in which he walked over 200 miles in a month.

He said that he “caught the hiking bug” and decided to think of other challenges “for an encore”. He settled on the 2000 mile challenge as a way of supporting organisations that are important to him, and have been affected by the pandemic, such as the Oxford Playhouse and The Wildlife Trusts.

He said: “Over the course of this challenge I will be supporting sixteen different charities whose work I admire and is important to me. Eight of the charities are from the arts sector - a sector particularly badly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic - and the other eight make invaluable contributions to the health and well-being of the communities in which they operate.”

Simon said that he added the mill to his list of charities as Lisa is a close friend, so he is aware of all the work they carry out. It is one of the ‘headline charities’ for April.

The mill said that its reserves have “shrunk alarmingly” during the pandemic and that the fundraising will help it carry out essential repairs and maintenance to the building and its surroundings.

For more information, and details of how you can contribute, go to: