The India Association committee had initially planned for Bobby to walk from Morocco to Egypt, via Algeria, Tunisia and Libya. But this idea was eventually discarded, due to the lack of a safe route. The committee instead decided on a 500 mile walk from Scotland to London, (which evolved into the “Parliament to Parliament Walk”).
The walk was carried out by India Association Chairman Bobby Grewal, who was accompanied by a support team of just two; Ashok Doll (PR) and Surjit Muther (driver). Bobby stayed in a motor home each night, with a small kitchen and basic facilities.
Bobby’s journey started on 4th June 2008, from the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh. The Scottish Health Secretary, The Rt. Hon Shona Robinson cut the ribbon at 11.30am and, after a few speeches, Bobby said goodbye to his family for five weeks. There was a good crowd of family, friends, well wishers and the local media, to wave Bobby off.
The first major stop was in Newcastle, where Bobby was warmly received by the Gurudwara Management Committee, who presented him with a donation, raised by the temple audience.
The next stop was Huddersfield, where Bobby attended a huge fund raising dinner, (arranged by Mr Inderpal Singh). Over 400 guests were present and over £40,000 in donations were pledged. It was a fantastic evening, that raised the profile of the research being carried out into bowel cancer at St Mark’s Institute.
Bobby’s journey through Loughborough and Leicester coincided with a family wedding, which he managed to attend. He also caught up with his nephew, Man Singh Grewal, who is President of a local Sikh temple, where donations were collected for The Great Walk.
There was another big function in Leicester, arranged by Baroness Sandy Verma, her husband Ashok, Davinder Lakhanpal, Indy Johal and Kooldeep Johal. The dinner was attended by 300 guests and generated £15,000 in pledges.
In Coventry, Bobby stayed with two close friends, Jagdev Grewal and Kultar Grewal, who had also collected donations from friends and family for the walk and once in High Wycombe, Bobby went straight to the Sikh temple, where his friend, Mr Sarup Singh Seera MBE, (President of the temple), received him, with his committee members. They enjoyed afternoon tea together and Bobby was given another donation; from the committee members and the management team.
On reaching Slough, Bobby was joined by India Association Patron, Dominic Grieve MP QC, who walked with him towards Southall. Bobby continued on to the Miri Piri Gurudwara, Broadway, Southall for a final rest and then continued on to Shepherds Bush Gurudwara; the oldest Sikh temple in the U.K.
On Wednesday 9th July, Bobby started the final leg of his journey, from the Shepherds Bush Sikh Temple, to Parliament House, (finishing at Speaker’s Apartment). As he approached Parliament House, he was greeted by a huge crowd of family, friends and well-wishers, as well as a band and some colourful Chinese dragons.
Once at Speakers Apartment, Bobby enjoyed a well earned rest at a special reception, organised by his friend, Lord Sheikh.
Several months later, Bobby attended a dinner at Park Plaza Wembley, that was arranged by St Marks Research Institute, in honour of his fundraising efforts. Bobby took great pleasure in presenting a cheque for £80,000 (on behalf of the India Association) to St. Mark’s Institute, for Bowel Cancer Research.