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    Dylan’s Cross Bay Walk – Money for Madagascar

    On the 5th June Dylan proudly strode on to Morecambe Bay to do the moderately famous Cross Bay Walk, led by the Queen’s Guide across the dangerous shifting sands for the Money for Madagascar charity.

    So why Madagascar? A country famous for its unique flora and fauna it is also one of the poorest and most underdeveloped in the world and Dylan’s great grandfather Thomas Rowlands is buried there.  He and his wife worked tirelessly as missionaries for the people of Madagascar and this is documented in a book ‘Thomas Rowlands of Madagascar’ by Edward and Emrys Rowlands.

    Certain things strike you reading the book. The sad fact that not a lot has changed for the Malagasy people. 90% of the rural population cannot meet their basic food needs. 50% of children under five suffer stunted growth due to chronic malnutrition. We have a watercolour painting bought by Thomas Rowlands of cattle being herded across a river and a hundred years later you can still see the same scene there. Dylan said he felt echoes of this painting as he and some 350 other walkers crossed knee deep through the Kent River in the middle of the sands in random and rather unruly lines.

    Thomas Rowlands and his wife were out there during the Spanish flu pandemic – a parallel to the 21st century that just makes you pause for thought as history repeats itself and we feel these links to the past and across continents.

    It’s an ironic and sad thought that the petrol spent getting to Arnside and back to complete the walk cost Dylan the equivalent of a months’ wages for the average Malagasy. However, he raised a £1,000 and hopefully some awareness of this island that has a particular significance for him.