Bex Turner from Menai Bridge in Anglesey is running to raise money for refugees this September, as part of ‘Miles for Refugees’, a national campaign organised by the British Red Cross.
More people than ever before have signed up to the British Red Cross fundraising challenge to help raise vital funds to support refugees in the UK, in a year when the challenges they face are hardly out of the headlines.
Marine biologist Bex Turner signed up to cover 108 miles throughout September. A former scuba diving instructor, Bex was inspired to support Miles for Refugees by recent events. She said: “This challenge is going to be 50 miles more than I’ve ever run in a month, but I’m keen to do this. I only started running in lockdown and before that I didn’t really enjoy it.”
Bex’ fundraising page opens with a quote from American journalist Ann Curry, who has been reporting on human suffering in war zones and natural disasters for more than 30 years. The quote reads: “There is no ‘us’ and ‘them.’ There is only us, one human family, connected in ways we sometimes forget.”
Bex said: “It’s been in the press recently about people trying to cross the Channel. It’s quite shocking that some people don’t agree with it or don’t want to help refugees. I think we all just need to show a little bit of compassion and do what we can.”
With the current public debate about channel crossings dominating the news agenda, sign ups this year are up 200%, with the UK public committing in their thousands to run, walk, swim or cycle great distances to help out. By taking part in Miles for Refugees participants are standing in solidarity with those who find themselves in an incredibly vulnerable position having fled conflict, war and persecution, in search of safety and a place to rebuild their lives.
They are joined by a number of celebrities, including journalist Bella Mackie, actress Cush Jumbo (star of C4 shows The Good Wife and Deadwater Fell) and comedian Josie Long, all of whom are backing the fundraiser.
Josie, who has recruited a team to take part in the challenge, explains that she wants to show that she welcomes refugees. She says: “I want to show support for refugees, to say that I stand with them and they are welcome here. My little life is comfortable and safe, but not everyone can say that. Everyone’s deserves to be!”
The money raised will go towards supporting refugees and people seeking asylum in the UK. From providing people with the basics – like food and clothes – to supporting them through the complex asylum application process, the money will help people stay safe and prevent them from falling into destitution.
In 2019 the British Red Cross refugee service supported 38,900 people in the UK.
Ian Weaver, Refugee Support service manager said:
“This September we are asking everyone to take part in Miles for Refugees, a fundraising challenge that will have a huge impact on the lives of refugees, people seeking asylum and vulnerable migrants living here in the UK.
“Refugees make desperate journeys because they are truly desperate. In the face of conflict or persecution, people are often forced to travel hundreds, if not thousands of miles to reach a place of safety.
“Whether you choose to walk, run, cycle or swim, the money you raise will help the British Red Cross to ensure that all refugees are made to feel welcome in their communities and are given the support they need to rebuild their lives in safety.”