My experience as a Marshal for AAWA
By Fatema Damji
This was my first experience being a volunteer for SJ and I have to say I was not disappointed. The level of detail that went into organising the event was so meticulous, from the Zoom meeting for all the marshals prior to the event, to the information pack and so much enthusiasm from the organisers, it definitely put us all in the spirit of the event.
When we arrived in the morning we all got our volunteer arm bands and were designated a position along the route. As those taking part arrived you could see the excitement and anticipation they were all feeling about whether they would be able to complete the route. There were ladies of all ages, and this was the best thing about the event. The fact that everyone came out to get involved to raise money for such a worthy cause.
During the event it was our role to motivate the ladies and guide them to ensure they were on the right route. I was lucky enough to see them twice along the route. On the way, as well as on the way back. On their way back, and I could see some of them were really exhausted but so determined to make sure they finish. I gave out jelly beans and chocolates that the organisers had already packed to the participants and tried to encourage them as much as I could as they were on their final leg. The relief and sense of achievement from the participants when we retuned back to Stanmore could be seen on their faces and they really wore their medals with pride.
While us marshals were standing at our positions on the route, many passer-bys enquired about what was happening and it was such a great way to make the wider community aware of the Ali Asghar Water Appeal.
This experience has motivated me to ensure if I cannot attend the Stanmore AAWA next year, to try and run a simultaneous one here in Birmingham. It was a great event that really brought the whole community together to support a really worthy cause.