Q&A with Annie Martin: Destiny of a Child founder

WE SPOKE TO FOUNDER OF DESTINY OF A CHILD, ANNIE MARTIN, TO HEAR ABOUT HOW DESTINY OF A CHILD CAME TO BE, AND HOW THIS YEAR'S CHALLENGE CAME TOGETHER...

 Annie Martin (left), Digby and Helen Townsend (Digby's Socialiser)

Annie Martin (left), Digby and Helen Townsend (Digby's Socialiser)


HOW DID DESTINY OF A CHILD BEGIN?

Destiny of a Child initially came to life as the result of a personal endeavour.

In 2002 I was at a point in my career where Nannies Incorporated (my day job!) was well-established and being run very successfully by my wonderful team, and I could take a step back to look at other opportunities. I had always wanted to more actively help children, and setting up a charity fund seemed like a good way to do that. We didn't want to limit ourselves to one strict cause though, which is why we change the focus of the charity every few years - initially we worked to fundraise for deaf children, and now we're working for children with autism.

With the help of our wonderful committee, who all work on a voluntary basis, we've now run social, sports and challenge events for over 16 years!

WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO SET UP DESTINY OF A CHILD?

It was taking that step back from my main business which allowed me to realise that I wanted to give back to the world, and put the time and effort in try and really make a positive change.

Luckily, some close friends had similar thoughts at this time, so we decided to work together and Destiny of a Child was born.

WHAT'S BEEN THE MOST MEMORABLE PART OF THE LAST 16 YEARS OF DESTINY OF A CHILD?

The most memorable part (so far!) was organising a climb of Mount Kilimanjaro for 60 climbers! We raised over £250,000 for profoundly deaf children in need of a cochlear implant and the memories will last a lifetime.

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WHAT MADE YOU CHOOSE DOGS FOR GOOD FOR THIS YEAR'S CHARITY?

We wanted to focus on a completely different cause for this new challenge - we looked at a few larger charities first, but decided that we would be able to make a bigger impact in the long run by turning our efforts towards a smaller - less known - charity.

I first found out about Dogs For Good around Christmas-time in 2016, and was impressed by the work that they did and how they presented themselves. After the essential due diligence and a few introductory meetings we were absolutely taken by the team and confirmed that we would love to fundraise for them!

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WHY THE CAMINO DE SANTIAGO?


The Camino is a renowned route, and walking it is a dream that many people share so we decided it was a perfect option for us.

I'm also French, and from the Basque Country, so have fond memories of watching people arrive with their backpacks and setting off on this amazing challenge.

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WILL YOU BE TAKING PART IN THE CHALLENGE?

Absolutely! The full Camino is about 800km, but that's a bit far for me nowadays unfortunately so I'll be walking about 240km instead - along the Camino Norte which follows the Northern Coastline of Spain.

I won't be on my own though, my husband will be joining me, along with 60 other walkers all flying the flag for Destiny of a Child and Dogs for Good!

WHAT'S YOUR TOP WALKING TIP?

Believe that you will make it to the end - that's mine. I'll be thinking about all the children we will be helping - that's what will keep me going on the tough days!


You can support the incredible walkers joining Destiny of a Child by donating on their JustGiving page here to help them reach their £200,000 target or - for the more adventurous - you can sign up to walk one the Camino routes yourself here (registration is open until mid February)!