As India celebrates 75 years of independence, it is still a stark reality that this country is home to a quarter of the world poorest people, many of whom still live on the streets.

Calcutta Rescue, which was started in 1979 by, Dr Jack Preger a British doctor, is one of the many charities, helping people out of the slums. Their aim is to focus on healthcare, education and living standards, in order to assist some of the most disadvantaged people in the world.

Sean Duggan, a former group editor of Newsquest became involved with the charity at the end of 1991, when he stumbled across a Swiss nurse, talking about a British doctor who was helping provide medical care for some of the millions of people living on the streets of Kolkata.

Duggan said: “I was so inspired that I took a train a few days later to Kolkata and ended up running one of the two clinics for a few months.”

In 1995, Duggan joined Newsquest as a junior reporter on the Surrey Comet, rising to the position of group editor for South West London and Surrey before leaving the company in 2015.

During his twenty year stretch with Newsquest, he was still involved with the charity on a weekend basis, working many hours alongside his full time job and raising a family.

Once his time with Newsquest ended, he then travelled to India for three months every year, working in Kolkata and helping to raise funds and awareness.

Today and with the travel restrictions imposed as a result of the pandemic, Duggan has spent his time in the UK, but his involvement with the charity has still been very active. He said: “It feels particularly good to still be able to make a positive contribution today to the lives of some of those people whose world was, to a significant extent, shaped by Britain all those years ago.”

In order to celebrate the 75 years of independence, Calcutta Rescue are organising a charity walk along the banks of the Thames on the 4 September. This walk will be 20kilometers in length and will start at Chiswick and end in Hampton Court.

Duggan added: The aim of the walk is to raise as much as we can to help fund Calcutta Rescue’s core work providing healthcare, education and employment opportunities to thousands of the poorest of the poor in Kolkata.

“It is being held in memory of Calcutta Rescue supporter Kavi Varsani who did a sponsored walk for the charity along the same route in 2018 before tragically dying of Covid at the start of the pandemic.”

The walk will take in some beautiful scenery along the riverbank and the walkers will stop for coffee and lunch along the way. It is not an arduous trip but an amble in hopefully, clement weather.

It is anticipated that much needed funds will be raised to support this worthwhile charity and you can join those doing the walk at the start point outside Costa Coffee at the Kew Bridge Station at the end of Kew Bridge on Sunday 4 September at 10.30am.

To donate to this worthy cause, please click on the following link -