A 69-year old man has begun an 18-month sponsored walk across the UK to raise £100,000 for The Salvation Army’s work with homeless people and victims of human trafficking.
Andy Peddle, from Downley in Buckinghamshire, will don a top hat and tails to walk to the majority of Salvation Army churches (Corps), Lifehouses and charity shops in the UK – totalling 7,900 miles or 15 million steps.
The walk will take him past every ground in the football league and when he arrives at each Salvation Army base, he will give a talk about the issues of homelessness and human trafficking and will then sing the anthem ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’.
Andy who will turn 70 during his walkathon hopes to raise awareness and much-needed funds to help others. He said: "The Salvation Army has a long history of offering practical support to people who are vulnerable or in need. Since 1 July 2011 more than 300 victims of human trafficking have been supported by The Salvation Army and partner organisations and we are there for 3,500 homeless men, women and families every night.
"The Salvation Army’s saying – 'Heart to God, hand to man' has inspired me to take on this challenge. It will be a personal pilgrimage, too. We are renting out our home in Downley, Buckinghamshire and my wife will be re-locating to Leeds whilst I am raising the money. I’ll have a support van following me on my trek so I can have a break and sleep wherever needed."
Andy, who is a member of The Salvation Army in High Wycombe, will start his epic journey on 16 May at the Shetland Islands, spending just under three months walking across Scotland, moving onto Ireland, Wales and then into England.
He is keen to see people support him by doing their own ‘mini’ sponsored walks and put their pictures on Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. He says: "I'm hoping people over the age of 65 to realise that life does go on and that you can volunteer and get involved. I would love to see as many people as possible support me."
Andy is no stranger to marching across the country in aid of charity – 20 years ago he walked 8,000 miles in the UK to raise money for people starving in Africa.
In July 2011, The Salvation Army was awarded the contract from the Ministry of Justice to provide specialist support for adult victims of human trafficking in England and Wales, including safe accommodation, counselling, medical care, translation services and legal counselling. Victims seeking help have been trafficked to or within England and Wales and are referred to the service through a dedicated referral line 0300 303 8151 available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Major Anne Read, The Salvation Army’s Anti-Trafficking Response Co-ordinator, said: “Male or female, no matter where the victim is in England and Wales or the reason that they are trafficked, we are helping all people caught up in all types of trafficking to get them the support they need, when they need it.
“Andy is such an inspirational man and the commitment he has to help others is a lesson to us all. The money he raises from his walk will enable us to support even more victims in England and Wales irrespective of gender, race, religion, sexuality or immigration status.”To support Andy visit his page www.justgiving.com/andy-peddle Members of the public will be able to track Andy’s progress through Facebook and Twitter – salvationarmyuk and via the website https://www.salvationarmy.org.uk/just-walk. There are more than 700 Salvation Army churches (Corps) and 50 Lifehouses within the UK. *Since 1 July 2011 more than 300 victims of human trafficking have been supported by The Salvation Army and partner organisations.
The Salvation Army is deeply committed to fighting human trafficking however it may be manifested and seeks to exercise care in restoring the freedom and dignity of those affected. For more information visit www.salvationarmy.org.uk/uki/trafficking
The Salvation Army took responsibility for delivering the UK government’s contract in July 2011 to manage support services for adult female and male victims of Human Trafficking. The specialist support programme is designed to preserve the dignity of victims, protect and care for them in safe accommodation, and provide access to confidential client-based support services including Legal Advice, Health Care, Counselling and Educational Opportunities
Victims seeking help have been trafficked to or within England and Wales and are referred to the service through a dedicated referral line 0300 303 8151 available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Each victim is being given individual specialist support at centres on 15 sites across the UK or through an outreach programme. Of the 15 locations:Eight locations support women, four support men and three support both men and women Seven locations can support either same or opposite sex couples, seven can support pregnant women and four can support families or parents with children Six locations have 24/7 staffing, six are staffed during the day with on-call support overnight, and three have floating support with on-call arrangements in place Based on a tiered assessment of the support needs, risk issues and security needs that providers are best placed to address, six were rated as high level, six as medium and three as low level