Hemel Festival of Hope 2023










Hemel Festival of Hope 

We are delighted to announce that our next event is the Hemel Festival of Hope!

On Saturday 24th June join us for a sponsored walk along the canal from Tring or Berkhamsted finishing at Camelot Rugby club in Hemel Hempstead for a celebration in memory of our founder Dr Bob Parsons OBE 

Join us to walk, run and play for hope this summer!

Friends, supporters, and Hemel Hempstead locals are all invited to a fun day out for the whole family, to explore the local area and raise money for Hope for Children. Choose the distance you’d like to take part in and join us for food and fun after! 


Festival information

Date: Saturday 24th June 2023 

Location: Grand Union Canal

Challenge: Choose from a 4-mile or 13-mile trail (or even complete your own distance virtually!)

Join us at the after-walk event at Camelot Rugby Club from 5pm

  • Buy food from the barbecue
  • Take part in the raffle
  • Enjoy the evening entertainment, including a disco!


Routes and start times

4-mile - 2pm start

Begin at Canal Fields Park and follow the scenic canal path along to Camelot Rugby Club.


13-mile 12pm start

Start at the Grand Junction Arms at Bulbourne near Tring, then join the Grand Union Canal. Follow the canal path along until reaching Apsley Marina, then walk around the marina and re-join the canal path until reaching Camelot Rugby Club.

Registration information


Adult (17+)      £15 registration fee

                           £60 minimum fundraising target


Child (0-16)     Free

No fundraising target, but if children would like to do some fundraising, then we’d be delighted to receive whatever they raise!


What could my fundraising achieve?

  • £60 can buy a desk and chair for one Kenyan schoolchild
  • £50 can give two children in the UK one book every month until their 5th birthday


Your registration fee includes:

  • Map & signposted route
  • Complete kit list
  • Fundraising Guide (including tips & tricks and A-Z of fundraising ideas)
  • Activity pack to complete along the route
  • Certificate of completion


The same registration fee and fundraising target applies for each distance. There are no additional fees for attending the after-walk event at the Camelot Rugby Club, and all are welcome! 

                  Sign up here

Only able to attend the evening festivities? No problem!

                  Sign up here to attend the evening only


In honour of Bob 

On 29 March 2022 our founder, Dr Bob Parsons OBE, died peacefully in Hemel Hempstead. Bob founded Hope for Children in 1994 to give vulnerable, overlooked, and exploited children a safe and fulfilling childhood, and his tireless work has helped children all around the world. His larger-than-life personality, humour, and care for humanity will be remembered by all who knew him. 

The Hemel Festival of Hope will be held in honour of his life’s work, and the hope he inspired. Thank you, Bob. 



How do I get there?

We appreciate that after doing a walk, you’ll want to enjoy the evening activities without worrying about transport, so we recommend the following travel arrangements for getting to the start point:

4-mile trail starting at Canal Fields Park: Park at or near Camelot Rugby Club > Walk to Hemel Hempstead Train Station (0.5 miles, approx. 11 minutes) > Catch the train to Berkhamsted Train Station (approx. 5 minutes) > Walk to Canal Fields Park (0.3 miles. approx. 6 minutes)

13-mile trail starting at the Grand Junction Arms: There are three potential options for transport, depending on what works best for you:

  • Arrange to be dropped off at Grand Junction Arms and picked up at Camelot Rugby Club
  • Car share, leaving one car at the start point (Grand Junction Arms) and one car at the end point (Camelot Rugby Club)
  • Park at or near Camelot Rugby Club > Walk to Hemel Hempstead Train Station (0.5 miles, approx. 11 minutes) > Catch the train to Tring Train Station (approx. 10 minutes) > Get a taxi to the Grand Junction Arms (approx. 5 minutes)

How fit do I need to be?

The 4-mile route should be suitable for anyone who is able to cover day-to-day distances, such as walking to the shops or around town.

The 13-mile route will be most suitable for people with some experience of walking or who exercise regularly. If you haven’t walked a similar distance before but would like to give this a go, you could always do a practice walk of around 7 or 8 miles to see how you get on.

Both distances follow the canal path so have very few ups and downs! The most important thing is to take it at your own pace as no one will be hurrying you along, and to ensure you drink plenty and bring snacks to replenish your energy.

Can children take part?

We want the Hemel Festival of Hope to be for the whole community, so for those with children, we would love for you to make a family day of it! The 4-mile route will be suitable for children of all ages, and older children or those that have done a lot of walking are welcome to have a go at the 13-mile route.

Please note that children (0-16 years) must be accompanied by a participating adult at all times. Please take extra care to follow safety precautions and bring appropriate kit, particularly if taking part in the 13-mile route.

What footwear do I need?

We would recommend walking boots as sections of the canal path may be uneven, but robust trainers will also do the job. The most important thing is to wear shoes which you are used to walking in, as this will minimise the risk of blisters.

Should I bring my own food and drink?

Yes. As you will be walking for several hours, we recommend bringing sugary snacks for quick-releasing energy, such as sweets, chocolate, or cereal bars. Hydration is very important, so please do bring plenty of water (at least 1 litre per person for the 4-mile distance, or 2 litres per person for the 13-mile distance).

The 13-mile walk starts at 12PM, so please remember to either eat lunch before setting off or bring a packed lunch with you.

To help the event make a positive impact on local people and the environment, please ensure you carry any waste such as empty bottles or food wrappers with you and dispose of them in a bin.


What else should I pack?

Even though the event is taking place in June, it is important to come prepared for all weather conditions! This means packing warm clothing (a long-sleeved top and raincoat should suffice), and most importantly sun protection including sun cream and a sunhat – the long-sleeved top can also reduce the amount of sun getting to your skin, so ensure it is breathable and not too woolly!

We will provide you with a kit list of what to bring, so you can simply check off the items from that list and be on your way!


Can I run instead of walk?

Although we’re expecting most people to walk, you’re very welcome to run if you would prefer and you’re confident that you have the required level of fitness.

If you do decide to run, it is important to take certain extra precautions to make sure you can do so safely. Namely, please ensure you wear appropriate footwear such as trainers or running shoes, stop immediately if you suspect that you are injured or feel unwell, and take extra care with any trip hazards or uneven surfaces. Finally, we ask you to do everything you can to be considerate of other canal path users so that they can enjoy the day as much as possible.

Please note that the evening activities at Camelot Rugby Club start at 5PM, so please factor this into your plan for the day.


Can I bring my dog?

Yes! Dogs are very welcome on the walk and at Camelot.

You will be responsible for their behaviour (including keeping them on the lead where appropriate) and looking after their wellbeing, so make sure you bring enough water for them and keep them in the shade as much as possible if it is a hot day.