INTERNATIONAL mountain leader Alan Ward has been going the extra mile for vulnerable communities around the world in May.

The 72-year-old is taking part in the ‘70k in May’ challenge, as part of this year’s Christian Aid Week.

The idea is to cover 70 kilometres in whatever way you like, in solidarity with millions of people who have to walk long distances for clean water or to sell their produce.

“Every year, during Christian Aid Week, people across Britain and Ireland raise funds, act and pray for their global neighbours in a celebration of hope for a fairer world,” said Alan, who provides mountain navigation and outdoor First Aid training in the Bannau Brycheiniog (Brecon Beacons) National Park.


“I’m doing 70km in May in the Bannau Brycheiniog, with walks of varied lengths, and without too many steep sections.

“The final trek will see myself and a few friends summit Pen y Fan on May 28 – something big to finish on.

“I have fond memories of the Christian Aid Challenge Walks in the late 1970s as a Scout in the 1st Brecon Scout Group. I can still remember my first one, which was in 1968, from Builth Wells to Brecon.

“Since then, I have led many treks around the world, including 20 in the Himalayas, five of which were to the Everest Base Camp.”

Born in York, Alan has lived all around the world, including Germany, Hong Kong, Dubai, Singapore and Indonesia.

He went to school in Brecon and moved back there later on with his wife Yolande and two daughters, where he worked for 20 years for the Brecon Beacon Beacons National Park Authority.

During this time, Alan achieved the International Mountain Leader Award and became a mountain training instructor.

He left in 2003 to develop his own pursuits, including Bigfoot Services Limited, a worldwide provider of quality training and adventures, and he has twice been a top-10 finalist in Wanderlust Travel Magazine’s annual Top Guide Awards.

County Times:  The supporter walk in 1968 from Builth Wells to Brecon. The supporter walk in 1968 from Builth Wells to Brecon. (Image: Christian Aid)

Money raised during Christian Aid Week will help the organisation’s partners empower vulnerable communities to find practical and sustainable ways out of poverty.

This year’s appeal, from May 12–18, is focusing on work in Burundi, one of the most densely populated and poorest countries in Africa.

Heavily reliant on agriculture, it’s also one of the least prepared to combat the effects of climate change, including droughts, floods and landslides.

The global cost of living crisis has intensified the challenges: more than 70 per cent of the population live in poverty and more than half of children are chronically malnourished.

Christian Aid has been working in Burundi since 1995 when it first offered humanitarian assistance to people surviving the civil conflict.

Now, alongside local partners, the organisation helps establish Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLAs). These community-led groups mean people can save and borrow money, making small businesses possible, offering incomes so families can eat regularly, get medicine and build safer homes.

To find out more about Christian Aid Week, visit