Reflections on our Winter Walks

London Winter Walk

The deers weren’t the only ones in Richmond Park who were hit with crisp air in the morn, one Saturday in early Feb. Our brave walkers, all 90 of them, gathered for a unique cause – the HHUGS annual London Winter Walk. They collectively raised £9706.  

The participants geared up for a memorable day of walking, socialising, and community bonding. We kicked things off with a touching reminder by Sh Suleiman Gani. He reminded the walkers of their impact, and how each step they traversed on the walk would bear witness for them on the Day of Judgement.

We’re sharing the experiences of a few of our walkers who were there on the day.

Shaheer’s Perspective: ‘Feeling at home, outside of my home..’

Shaheer, a dedicated supporter of HHUGS, and a former HHUGS staff, shared his anticipation for the Winter Walk. His passion for both nature and community drew him to participate in this event, where he found solace in the breathtaking landscapes of Richmond Park and the companionship of like-minded individuals.

“As it was Richmond Park, I looked forward to seeing the deer and exploring new-to-me parts of the grounds, and ultimately doing something for a good cause.

“The park is easily one of the nicest in London and the surrounding areas, and it was just the right thing to do as I have been meaning to get more regular again with my walking.  I just don’t see that many fellow Muslims in my average park walk, so I felt at home, outside home.”

His reflections echoed the sentiment of many, highlighting the beauty of congregational prayers amidst the serene surroundings and the joy of discovering new parts of the park.

“I was also very excited to have the opportunity to pray in congregation in such a beautiful setting, I always like to pray in new places and do my best to not feel anxious or worry that people may think negatively about me (when on my own), so I looked forward to praying with others.”

Shaheer enjoyed being back with familiar faces and meeting new ones. He looks forward to joining HHUGS again for their future walks, and talks about his key highlights of the day.

“I loved the whole day and especially getting to meet members of staff, other volunteers, and supporters of HHUGS. Starting the event with some words from the legendary Shaykh Suliman Gani set the tone and mindset for the rest of the day — this was excellent.

“It was quite cold and windy, but it was amazing to see the numbers that turned up, and from stewarding at the back of the pack, it was an epic scene being able to look ahead and see a long line of attendees with their HHUGS backpacks stretching into the distance, many with pushchairs and others with toddlers trying to run away from their parents!”

Daniel’s Reflections: ‘Having my daughter with me is what helped…’

For Daniel, the Winter Walk held a special significance as he embarked on the journey with his daughter for the first time, instilling in her the values of compassion and service from a young age.

“I wanted my daughter’s first fundraising thing to be a HHUGS event so the walk was the perfect chance.

“The walk went great. Highlights for me include starting the prayer with my daughter by my side and by the time we had finished praying, she had picked up so much grass and so many leaves and put them on the mat.

“Other highlights include seeing people I hadn’t seen in a while, meeting new people and playing hide and seek.”

As a dedicated fundraiser and former HHUGS employee, Daniel’s commitment to the cause shone through as he navigated the paths of Richmond Park.  He talks about the power of family, and unity in making a positive impact on society.

“I think the work that HHUGS do is so important, especially with the cost of living crisis. In regards to my fundraising journey, I did just about reach it. I think having my daughter with me is what helped me reach the target if I am being honest.

“I would recommend, the HHUGS walk as it’s a great family event and a great opportunity to support a worthy cause.”

As former employees, we are moved by Daniel and Shaheer’s passion for the cause, and their ongoing love for the charity. The community spirit and fraternity makes it an inviting event to attend for all those part of the HHUGS family.

Aamina’s Experience: ‘You’re giving something back…’

Aamina, a mother of six, embarked on the Winter Walk with her children united by a shared sense of purpose and community spirit. Inspired by HHUGS’ unique work, she seized the opportunity to contribute by walking side by side with others to raise crucial funds.

“I wanted to fundraise for HHUGS because I already knew the work they did and who they supported in the community. I was very interested in supporting this charity. It’s one of the most unique charities in the UK. Their work is amazing!”

With each step taken with her children, and connection made, Aaminah created lovely memories with her children, and other sisters she met.

“The walk went well Alhamdulillah. The highlights were that I met lovely sisters, there were a whole group of lovely people taking part, the weather was ok, and the sandwiches were delicious, Alhamdulillah.”

She recommends the walk to others, an opportunity to get out and have some fresh air, and connect with others.

“I would recommend a similar event to others because it’s a great way to get out and about, it’s a form of exercise, it’s for a good cause, and it’s like you’re giving something back to the community/Ummah. It’s worth it!”

A special shout out to High Wycombe Scouts Group who joined us once again, having taken part in the London Winter Walk for the third year running, and raising an impressive £2780 with the 17 children that took part. They came determined to seek the deer of Richmond Park but only caught a glimpse from a distance!  

The London Winter Walk ended with participants traversing through Pembroke Lodge, and stopping at King Henry’s mound to capture the picturesque view of London from its telescopes. There was a special treat for all walkers which was our staple cupcakes, kindly baked and donated by a dedicated volunteer. Participants then rushed off back after Asr to catch the coach to get back to East London Mosque.

North Winter Walk

Hollingsworth Lake is known for its beauty and stunning landscape. It was the site of our annual North walk, for supporters in Manchester, Lancashire and West Yorkshire. We were joined by 39 people raising an impressive £4,773 for HHUGS families.

It was a great day out, and everyone of all fitness levels were encouraged to join.   As one participant shares,

“Some of us did a walk that was family friendly and others did a more intermediate walk.”

“With each step, they took, they kept the main purpose of the walk in their thoughts, motivating them to continue.

“The main objective was to raise money for HHUGS. They’ve been operating for many years and their work is important.

“They are providing financial and emotional assistance to many families that are suffering. Especially in the Winter, with the current financial crisis, their help is crucial. “

During life’s challenges and uncertainties, events like the Winter Walk remind us of the transformative power of unity, and empathy.

In the spirit of the Winter Walk, let us continue to walk together—side by side, striving to change lives. Our work continues, as our family are still in need. With Ramadhan around the corner, we still need your help.

If you’re in the competitive spirit, why not sign up for our Race to Jannah Challenge or if you prefer more action, our Summer Dragon Boat Race. If you would like to contribute towards our Ramadhan packages, you can donate here.