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To mark World Refugee Day this Wednesday (June 20th) Jackie Tomlinson and Martin Roe from Justicia, the Bolton Fair Trade Shop, are cycling nearly 70 miles to Southport and back to raise money for Bolton’s refugee community.

“Some people say that Bolton has taken more than its fair share of refugees.” commented Jackie. “We were proud of this, but wondered what more we could do to help. Through our work for Fair Trade we were invited to attend the recent Bolton City of Sanctuary Annual Meeting and found the testimonies of refugees who had been made welcome in Bolton very moving.”

“We found how City of Sanctuary brought women together to share emotional and practical burdens and have fun at the sewing group, how drama workshops with TheOctagon helped people to share stories, bring confidence and improve language skills, and how families and friends enjoy shared meals together. Working with the Destitution Project, BRASS and the Red Cross, City of Sanctuary helps to find accommodation for destitute asylum seekers. Raising money will help in the continuance and expansion of this important work.”

Jackie and her colleague Martin are riding as part of the national Tilnar Cycling Challenge – ‘This is Life not a Rehearsal’ – a nationwide charity event whose entry fees support Cancer Research UK, but on top of this they are hoping to generate around £750 in sponsorship for City of Sanctuary. 

Martin explained: “We both regularly cycle our short commute to work. We completed the Tilnar Art cycle challenge  three years ago 35 miles over the hills but apart from that we just do occasional holiday cycling.  70 miles in a day is a challenge for us – we are not racing the clock!”

City of Sanctuary Bolton Chair Shaheda Mangerah added: ” I am delighted that our colleagues from Justicia have so generously offered to do this fundraising on our behalf, and hope the weather is kind to them. We will certainly put their contribution to good use, to support some of those who have arrived in Bolton to build a new life after experiencing war or persecution.”