FROM: Owen Cooper on behalf of The Big Ride
DATE: Thursday 30 July
Hundreds join The Big Ride from Edinburgh to London for children of Gaza backed by Jeremy Corbyn and Maxine Peake!
An epic 435 mile capital-to-capital ride from Edinburgh to London will start on Saturday to raise essential funds for Gaza’s children, as well as creating awareness across the UK of the Palestinian struggle. The event is endorsed by MPs from all parties, celebrities and human rights campaigners including Jeremy Corbyn, Maxine Peake, Ricky Tomlinson, Mark Thomas and Jews for Justice for Palestinians.
The Big Ride send off in Edinburgh includes speakers: Dr Mona El Farra (from Gaza Vice President of Red Crescent and Director of MECA in Gaza); Claudia Beamish (MSP and Chair of the Palestine CPG) Sandra White (MSP Co-Convener of CPG) and others. Dr El Farra, who lost 9 members of her extended family in an Israeli airstrike during the 2014 massacre of Palestinian civilians, said: “The Big Ride is breaking barriers that separate human beings who should be equal regardless of race, colour or religion. We dream of a day when we can welcome cyclists in a free Palestine to enjoy the beauty of our country that has been devastated by long decades of Israeli occupation, disposition, and annihilation.” 01 August will be the anniversary of the death of her family members.
We have already reached over half way to our £50,000 target set for MECA, the Middle Eastern Children’s Alliance.
The youngest participant is 15-year-old Ciaran Wakefield, a pupil at High Storrs School in Sheffield. Ciaran said: “As a teenager I look at Gaza and people my age there and think of the lack of opportunity they have and it’s really devastating. It’s so important that people find out what is happening in Gaza and Palestine, especially to young people.
“Personally it’s going to be a great challenge for me. It’s an amazing opportunity to do such a ride, a once in a life time opportunity. It’ll be great to push myself and see if I can do it. I can’t wait to get on my bike and find out what I’ve let myself in for!”
At the other end of the age spectrum is retired doctor Dr John Gleisner from Walthamstow in London. Mr Gleiser, who is 80, said: “I will be cycling as far as my legs will carry me. Definitely from Edinburgh to Newcastle and hopefully joining the last stage into London.
“I want to draw attention to how children in Gaza are living in what is an open prison, surrounded by Israeli forces in the air and on sea and land. There are children who die in natural disasters but this really is a man-made disaster creating suffering on an immense scale”.
On Sunday 9th Augusts all cyclists are welcome to join for the last 2 miles at 1pm at Wellington Arch, Hyde Park Corner to head for the rally at Archbishop’s Park!
In the build up to the event, on 04 July we ran national advertisements in The Independent and ‘i’ newspapers remembering the children of Gaza killed in 2014. The cost of this publicity has been raised entirely through donations via a crowd-funding campaign. This vindicates the public demand for support and awareness raising for the children of Gaza.
The Big Ride departs from Edinburgh on Saturday August 1 passing through Selkirk (Scottish borders), Newcastle (August 2), Northallerton (August 3), Bradford (August 4), Sheffield (August 5), Loughborough (August 6), Northampton (August 7), Luton (August 8) and arriving in London on Sunday August 9 where there will be a reception and rally at Archbishop’s Park, London SE1 7LE at 1.30pm. Speakers include: Dr Mona El Farra, Len McCluskey General Secretary of Unite and Grahame Morris MP, chair of Labour Friends of Palestine.
Greg Challis 0780 779 5621