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Big Walk (Copy)The Trans Pennine Trail runs through Barnsley and has been the catalyst for Barnsley Catenian brothers and charitable fund raising. Two years ago Ken Barry raised £300 for Barnsley Hospice through supporting the President’s Charity that year and riding his bicycle across the trail.

Now Deacon Tony Strike is attempting something similar only this time on foot. Tony has explained the rationale behind his efforts:

“The world is experiencing the largest movement of people since the Second World War with millions of people fleeing wars in Syria and Iraq, continuing conflicts and instability in Afghanistan, and in countries across Africa and Eastern Europe. It is a modern day exodus of biblical proportions.  In the mass of people making journeys across forests and oceans, it is hard to pick out individual stories or to seriously imagine ourselves in the same situation.

Tony Strike Deacon and Academic (Copy)“I decided to walk over 120 miles over six days along the Trans Pennine Trail to show solidarity with and support the refugees who are walking because they have been forced into exile by conflicts in their home country. I work at the University of Sheffield and we have a particular reason to hold faith with those who make such a perilous journey; some of our own community had to do just the same.

“Nobel Laureate Hans Krebs fled fascism and later spent “nineteen happy years” at the University of Sheffield. Author, poet and academic Mbulelo Mzamane, who was expelled from Botswana, completed a PhD at Sheffield.  He was later described by Nelson Mandela as a “visionary leader and one of South Africa’s greatest intellectuals”.  A former Students’ Union President Abdi-Aziz Suleiman left Somalia with his mother when he was three and found refuge in our own city of Sheffield, growing up in Broomhall.

“A number of other academics and students currently working and studying in the safety of the University where I work have arrived from several different countries, all with their own stories to tell and reasons for having had to flee their homes.

“The Big Walk 2016 presents us with the opportunity to continue our long-standing tradition of welcoming refugees as academics and as students based in a City of Sanctuary. Starting on Sunday 12 June, the Big Walk 2016 will see two teams of 10 alumni, staff and students of the University of Sheffield walk over 120 miles over six days along the Trans Pennine Trail.

“If you want a way to demonstrate solidarity with refugees and to show that they are welcome at our University and in our cities and country then please do pray for those on the road and if you can, please sponsor my walk at the following site, http://www.justgiving.com/TonyStrike.”