On Sunday (30th June), CAFOD Salford supporters gathered from across the diocese at St Philip’s & St John’s in Padiham (Fred’s home parish) to celebrate the completion of Fred & Mark’s epic cycling tour and learn more about CAFOD’s “Hungry for Change” campaign. Over 40 supporters from Manchester, Burnley, Blackburn, Brierfield, Rawtenstall, Todmorden, Padiham and Pendle welcomed back Fred Uttley & Mark Brown, who completed the 1,100 miles of Le Tour de Fred on Friday, having cycled around the 22 dioceses of England & Wales.
Fred & Mark completed a mammoth sponsored cycle in aid of CAFOD around the dioceses of England & Wales. They left Salford Cathedral on Sunday 9th June heading for Leeds, they visited the northern dioceses first (Leeds, Middlesbrough, Hexham & Newcastle, Lancaster), passing back through the Diocese of Salford, before heading south. They then travelled through the Dioceses of Liverpool and North Wales, before moving down the western side of the country visiting the Dioceses of Shrewsbury, South Wales, Clifton & Plymouth. The intrepid duo then moved along the south coast through the Dioceses of Portsmouth and Arundel & Brighton. Heading north again, Fred & Mark cycled through the Dioceses of Southwark, Brentwood & Westminster and then to East Anglia, Northampton, Birmingham, Nottingham, Hallam and finally back to Manchester on Friday 28th June, finishing at Holy Name Church.
The afternoon began with a splendid shared lunch organised by the kind ladies of the parish of St John the Baptist & St Philip’s in Padiham. The parish priest, Father Allan Swift, welcomed everybody and led those assembled in a grace before meals. Everybody then enjoyed a terrific lunch having time to catch up with old friends or meet new ones. After lunch there was a short prayer service expertly put together by members of CAFOD Salford’s Spirituality Team, Jackie Hindle-South & Anne Marie Coppock. Ged Edwards, CAFOD Salford Diocesan Manager, then welcomed everybody and introduced the first speaker, Bridget Fenwick, head of the CAFOD School’s Team. Bridget spoke about the terrific work Fred & Mark had done with schools during their sponsored Le Tour de Fred. On their travels Fred & Mark had visited around 20 schools telling children about CAFOD’s “Hungry for Change” campaign which highlights the fact that there are still 1 in 8 people around the world who will go to bed hungry every night. Fred is a CAFOD School Volunteer covering part of East Lancashire, where he regularly visits local schools telling children about the work of CAFOD. During the tour of England & Wales he told children why he was doing this sponsored cycle, so that some of those 1 in 8 (or 870 million) people don’t go to bed hungry and how they could help.
Bridget underlined the importance of the awareness raising that Fred & Mark had done and the inspiration they have provided to others around the dioceses. She thanked Fred & Mark for their fantastic fundraising efforts, which stands at £3,500 and counting. It’s not too late to sponsor Le Tour de Fred, please visit its Just Giving page:
Fred & Mark were then invited to share their experiences of Le Tour de Fred. They cycled around the dioceses to raise money to support small-scale farmers in Rajshahi, Bangladesh and spread awareness of CAFOD’s “Hungry for Change” campaign. Fred underlined time and time again what an inspiration the children were whenever they visited schools around England & Wales, “their crescendos of cheers and clapping helped us through the gruelling miles!”
During the 20 days of Le Tour, Fred & Mark also had the opportunity to meet groups of CAFOD supporters in many parishes from across the different dioceses, and were often welcomed warmly with food, drink and cheques for their fundraising. They even had time to cycle 19 miles with over 200 fellow CAFOD cyclists in the Diocese of Westminster, who were raising money for their annual sponsored “Pedal Against Poverty“. Their account of their travels was royally entertaining, having met a countess and a bishop, as well as many more enthusiastic and generous CAFOD folk. On finishing their talk they received a rapturous round of applauds for their amazing feats.
Bridget Fenwick then addressed the supporters again, informing them about the work of CAFOD in Bangladesh, where the money Le Tour De Fred raises will be spent. The money will help fund food projects, through CAFOD’s partner Caritas Bangladesh, in two vulnerable regions of the country, Rajshahi – a drought prone area in the north-west, and Khulna – an area in the south-west prone to flooding from the sea. The money will go towards helping struggling farmers learn new farming techniques to lift themselves out of poverty.
Ged Edwards then updated the supporters on the progress of CAFOD’s “Hungry for Change” campaign and how this has fitted in with the bigger “Enough Food for Everyone, IF” campaign. The IF campaign has seen the five biggest British Overseas Aid Groups (BOAG – Christian Aid, Oxfam, CAFOD, ActionAid & Save the Children) come together to lobby the UK government and the G8 on a fairer deal for the developing world. These five aid agencies have been joined by over 100 other lobbying and campaign groups over the last year and this resulted in over 45,000 campaigners gathering in Hyde Park for a mass Big IF G8 Rally in early June.
The day ended with a final prayer, hymn and blessing and a big thank you to all those who attended. It’s not too late to organise a sponsored cycle in solidarity with the Bangladeshi farmers and Fred & Mark, check out the organiser’s guide: