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Clockwise on the floor. Top left (with glasses) Roslyn, Jeanne, Carol, Janet, Karen, Sharon, Stephanie, Melanie, Belinda, Michele, Bianca. Single photo - Vanessa

THE WALK
Day 1 Santorini: Perissa to Akrotiri (13km)
Day 2 Santorini: Fira to Oia (10km)
Day 3 Santorini: Circular walk from Akrotiri (5km)
Day 4 Ferry to Naxos
Day 5 Chalki to Melanes (19km)
Day 6 Walk to Mt. Zas (19km)

IN THEIR OWN WORDS

Sharon Lotz (nee van Vliet)

What a school reunion – 37 years down the line 12 of us decided to meet up in Greece from all corners of the globe to walk 66kms raising money for M.A.D. hoping to make a difference in a child’s life later. We have developed lifelong friendships and all working on a common goal.
Thanks to people’s generosity before and during the walk we managed to raise in excess of R15,000.
Since our return we have already:
Helped a family with school uniforms and stationery for their 3 children.
Sent a lady battling with bone cancer on a holiday to Cape Town with her sister.
Secured a dining room table and benches for an orphanage so that the children can sit down to a meal and have somewhere to do their homework.
We are now working on hosting 30 children at a Kiddies Christmas tree to help spread a little Christmas cheer amongst some who dread this time of the year.

Karen Daniels (nee Burger)

As much as I was looking forward to seeing Greece, and walking to raise funds, I have to admit I wasn’t so sure about meeting up with a group of ladies, most of whom I had not seen or spoken to since school! By nature I’m a loner. There was nothing to worry about. I was constantly amazed at how seamlessly the group meshed. During the walks the group fragmented, fast walkers, medium paced and stragglers. But even so, by the end of the route you’d find that you’d walked and talked with everyone in the group.
Besides awesome weather and scenery, the highlights for me were the lunches and dinners. I’ve yet to meet such a frank and forthright group, and quick witted. Not for the feint hearted. I loved the banter and topics varied from lighthearted to serious. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed as much as during this whole trip.
Each and every one of these ladies brought wisdom and a unique personality that was hard not to like. I have a special place in my heart for each and every one of them. A strong bond and friendship has formed between the 12 of us. One that will surely last the test of time.

Jeanne Curry (nee la Porte)

We all arrived in Greece from several different continents. Bearing in mind we had not seen each in a very, very long time and people had matured, "like a fine wine" with age, some I recognised instantly and some took me a day or two to recognise and place them. However, we had one thing in common, attending Grosvenor Girls High on the Bluff and very proud of what became of everyone. We laughed, cried and of course talked, non-stop.
Although I am not fit, the walks were fantastic, with awesome scenery that just made you want to walk further to see more. We all wore very colourful T-Shirts, meeting such awesome locals, including people visiting the islands, who all embraced the reason for our distant walks "collecting to make a difference in a child's life and were overwhelmed that this was also a "Class of ‘79" School Reunion. Of course, we had to sing our Grosvenor Girls song which attracted much attention.
I have been on many holidays but this was by far "the best" most talked about holiday in my house, re-uniting with 12 ladies, re-kindling friendships that will last forever. Ladies thank you from the bottom of my heart for making our holiday, a time to remember. Thank you to everyone that generously donated and collected towards M.A.D. because together we can “Make a Difference in a Child's Life".

Belinda Grobler (nee Piket)

Deciding to go on this one and only school reunion was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I loved meeting up with the girls - not going to lie to you - one or two I battled to remember. But within a few minutes, 37 years felt like a week.
Vanessa and I shared a room and I was always looking for the room key. On more than one occasion, I told her that she definitely took the keys. To which she replied "I know I haven't got the keys and thank goodness I know you. Carry on looking you will find them ". To my horror I eventually did find them 🙈.
I often think of this and have a chuckle. There is something very different about a relationship when making friends as an adult. As opposed to a relationship with your childhood friends. Fundamentally none of us had changed.
I am so happy and proud of how we have all turned out. The humility and love between us is heartwarming.
Very proud to say we were raised on the Bluff and went to Grosvenor Girls High School.
Raising funds for M.A.D. was an extra bonus - the cherry on the top of a wonderful life altering outlook and experience.

Melanie Moore (nee Lewis)

Our Greece trip was one of the best holidays I have ever had. I was able to meet up with 11 truly amazing women whom I became very fond of and who all taught me something more in life. I love our continued friendship and hope that we will all meet again soon.

Janet Offer (nee Randall)

It was such a privilege to be a part of this reunion. I had only been friends with one of the other 11 girls when I was at Grosvenor but had formed friendships with another 3 since then. The other 7 were virtually strangers. I needn’t have worried we all got on like the best of friends who had always been in close contact. We all just fitted in together.
No pressure to walk if you were not up to it and although I was one of those that was always at the back someone was always there to keep me company. The life lessons have been amazing and we have formed a very strong bond and keep in touch daily, thanks to WhatsApp. This has been one of my best holidays ever. I look forward with anticipation to our next reunion in 2019.

Vanessa Rudolph

Knowing that for health reasons I was not going to do any hiking on the GGHS 37th Reunion, it didn't stop me from trying. That first day was supposed to be 3kms...It turned out to be a lot longer and I bailed at the halfway point Taverna Giorgaros. That was the end of my good intentions. I never raised funds through sponsorship but did provide a healthy dose of kindred spirit to boost the team's morale.
Seeing them all coming back from a day's hiking all flushed, sweaty, aching, bruised & sunburned, the reality hit home: No pain, no gain. The minor agonies are often forgotten when good comes from it.
All the supporters of M.A.D. are a group dedicated to making small differences in the lives of so many underprivileged. Bravo to the team!
What I took away from this trip was a reconnection with special women...Women of substance...Women of big hearts.
This group will persevere.

Bianca Russell (nee de Boer)

Just want to say what an absolutely smashing lot this group are. I was so nervous when the day arrived to set off on our Reunion, not having seen you all for so many years.
I arrived at Heathrow, saw Jeanne and every bit of nervousness melted away. Once we had all arrived in Santorini, I took 5 mins to quietly reflect and was swept away by just how wonderfully easy it was to see you all again. Michele then joined us a couple of days later and again, just a seamless addition to an amazing group of girlies from Grosvenor.
Our walks were inspiring and our chats, just the best. I am still overwhelmed by all your loveliness. Hold onto all that makes you such a 'swell' bunch of ladies. I don't want to sound too corny, but from the bottom of my heart, I thank you all for letting me be a part of your lives. Hugest of hugs.

FINAL NOTE

A special thank you to all the wonderful people we met along the way. Hopping from island to island, we regularly crossed paths with familiar faces.
Sadly we never got names or contact details from everyone who took the time to talk to us and find out more about M.A.D.

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One person who did get in touch with us was Pascaline Zamor.

Thank you to our hosts at:
Santorini - Kalimera Hotel
Naxos - Naxos Beach Resort
Mykonos - Leonis Summer Houses
Your warmth and hospitality added to our experience

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