AN Oxfordshire couple are fundraising for a charity that helped to bring them together during lockdown.

Julian Keen, from Bicester, and Dawn Wiltshire, from Yarnton, met online after joining community charity Guideposts Trust's online service called Better Connected.

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It delivers a lively calendar of online events and activities for people with learning disabilities, to provide a friendly, safe community, with a dedicated team of staff to support them in making friends.

Since meeting online via Better Connected, a delightful friendship has blossomed between Ms Wiltshire and Mr Keen and the couple have dates together over WhatsApp video every day in the evening.

Oxford Mail: Dawn and Julian, who were brought together by charity Guideposts Trust are now aiming to raise £5k 
Picture by Ed Nix

The pair met in person when Ms Wiltshire made a surprise visit to the Bicester garden centre where Mr Keen works, but their relationship is currently remote due to Covid.

They want to make sure it is safe before having their first face-to-face date.

To help cement their bond, the couple have decided to raise money for Guideposts Trust, to give back to the charity that brought them together and which they both love.

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They are taking part in the Guideposts Global Challenge where they must walk, run or cycle a share of 21,976 miles - enough to virtually travel all the way around the world - by the end of 2021.

Mr Keen said: “I was so happy with Guideposts and everything they had to offer during lockdown that I decided to join the Guideposts Global Challenge to give something back to a charity that means so much to me.

"I work at Blue Diamond Garden Centre in Bicester, so I hope that my return to work after lockdown means I can get lots of miles added – as I work and walk really hard and far when I am there."

Mr Keen initially set up his fundraising page and started clocking up miles back in March, but since meeting Ms Wiltshire, he has updated his page so that they can add their steps towards the challenge together, as a united team. 

He added: “We met each other on the Guideposts Better Connected service, even though we have both been members of Mates n Dates for 10 years, but we had never met. Our friendship has blossomed, so, I asked Dawn if she would like to join me on the Guideposts Global Challenge to help us add steps and so we can fundraise together.

"We are both looking forward to adding more miles onto the Mission Map and raising funds for a great charity that has helped both of us so much.

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"We are looking forward to going to the pub together soon, as we both like to have a drink and socialise with friends.

"We would love your support for all our hard work and efforts to walk around the world in less than a year with our Guideposts Global Challenge team of friends and supporters, and thank you very much for any donation you make to our team of two."

They have raised more than £700 towards their £5,000 target. To sponsor them, go to