Sisters’ move-a-thon to help vulnerable

Sisters Petra and Thora Vardy organised a ‘move-a-thon’ and raised almost £1,700 to help The Salvation Army support vulnerable people.

Wednesday, 14th April 2021, 2:15 pm

Petra, 11 and Thora, 8, challenged themselves and schoolfriends at Fountains Earth Church of England Primary School to exercise for as long and as vigorously as they could.

From jumping, skipping and running on the spot, to dancing and practising gymnastics, the girls got creative and motivated each other to keep going.

Thora moved for 1 hour and 50 minutes while Petra managed 2 hours 26 minutes.

The siblings were inspired after visiting Ripon Salvation Army at Christmas to see how the church and charity was helping families who’d experienced a difficult year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The church’s Christmas Present Appeal distributed gifts to 200 families, whose children might otherwise have gone without. Petra and Thora donated presents to the appeal, but they wanted to do more to help struggling families.

Petra said: “We learn about Jesus at school but in all the stories he’s doing something – healing the ill, helping the poor or the lonely.

“We’d always thought we can’t heal the sick or anything like that but we could do something.

“We thought maybe we’d manage to get a couple of our friends involved and maybe raise a couple of hundred pounds, but our move-a-thon began slowly to grow and it was amazing to see it blossom into something so amazing.”

Thora said: “I’m a competitive dancer and Petra is a gymnast so we have a lot of energy. We took no breaks and moved vigorously the whole time.

“Thinking of why I was doing it kept me going. It’s not easy to keep yourself going, but I’d say to anyone doing something like this, you’re going to make a real difference to people’s lives; you can change people’s lives!”

Ripon Salvation Army church leader Major Christine McCutcheon said: “The girls have been fantastic. It was wonderful to welcome them to our church to share some of the things we do to support our community and we are thrilled it has inspired them to put their own faith into action.”

Major McCutcheon added: “In Ripon we support struggling families all year round with emergency food parcels as well as providing meals for homeless people on a Wednesday. Our church is a safe space for people to come and is, in ordinary circumstances, a hub for people searching for employment opportunities and financial support and advice.

“Although Ripon can be perceived to be a fairly affluent area, more people have sought our help this year who wouldn’t ordinarily need it.

“People have been furloughed from work due to the Covid-19 pandemic, with a number not able to cope financially as a result.

“With no one to turn to, a number of people have sought The Salvation Army’s help.

“At the start of the lockdown we were providing as many as half a dozen emergency food packages a day, three days a week.

“Our community is extremely generous in providing support through donations of food or funds, for which we are very grateful.

“It’s been encouraging to meet Petra and Thora who were so determined to help out and have contributed greatly as a result.”