Peace activist battles snow to finish 25-mile walk for landmines charity

OLDHAM peace activist Richard Outram battled against driving snow and winds to complete a 25-mile walk to raise funds to help clear landmines in Angola.

Richard and Maria at the start of the walk

Richard, who is Secretary of the Oldham Pledge to Peace Forum, set off on his walk from the Peace Pole in Dunwood Park in his home town of Shaw at 9.30am on December 9.

And just over 24 hours later he arrived at the Peace Pole at the University of Bradford, where he is a first year Peace Studies undergraduate student.

“On day one, I walked through Newhey and Denshaw, and over the moors down into Rishworth and Ripponden, and arrived at Halifax where I stayed overnight,” said Richard.

“The walk over the moor was particularly difficult with driving snow and winds – even the sheep were shivering!

“With no footpaths and poor visibility I had to be especially careful to avoid the oncoming traffic.

“You can imagine I had sore feet and some blisters when I finished the 17.5mile journey to Halifax, but my partner Maria Ellis was there to meet me so all was well.

“On day two, I walked from Halifax through Boothtown and Queensbury and onto Bradford University.

“This was only around 7.5 miles, and the morning weather was better, but the surface conditions were treacherous with black ice. I fell a couple of times and acquired a few bruises along the way!

“I arrived a little later than anticipated at the University Peace Pole where I was met by Maria and also Katy and Alice from the University Peace Society.”

Richard with Katy and Alice at the end

The walk was part of the Mines Advisory Group’s (MAG) ‘Walk without Fear’ campaign to raise awareness of their work to clear landmines from countries affected by conflict.

Richard picked December 10 for the finish date as it is the 20th anniversary of when MAG and other partners in the International Campaign to Ban Landmines received the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo.

“I am grateful to my partner Maria, councillors Julia and Paul Turner for driving over to meet me in West Yorkshire with chocolate, and to Katy and Alice for their support during the walk,” said Richard.

“I am grateful too for the many generous financial donations given by supporters for this excellent cause.

“Although it will appear crazy to walk so far on such a wintry weekend, my tribulations were as nothing compared to the hardships faced by many millions of people who live with the threat of landmines.

“Eighteen are killed or wounded every day by these appalling weapons. Tragically most of these are children.

“MAG works to clear mines and educate people about their dangers so that they can go back to tilling the land and walking to school without fear.”

Richard has so far raised around £300 but his target is £500. All monies raised will go to support the efforts of MAG in Angola. The UK Government will double all donations with UK aid until Christmas Eve 2017.

To support Richard, you can make a donation online on his Just Giving page: www.justgiving.com/richard-outram

MAG has been working in more than 40 countries since 1989, and has found and destroyed 4.7 million landmines, cluster bombs and other unexploded ordnance. Find out more online: www.maginternational.org

 

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