A 70-year old man headed into Hednesford on Monday as part of 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 visited The Salvation Army hall in Anglesey Street dressed in a top hat and tails as part of his walk to the majority of Salvation Army centres, Lifehouses and charity shops in the UK – totalling more than 7,900 miles or 15 million steps.
Andy arrived just as tea and toast was being served to the Little Stars Parents and Toddlers group, where he gave a talk abut the issues of human trafficking and homelessness and sang the anthem, “You’ll Never Walk Alone”.
Andy raised 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’ – inspired me to take on this challenge. It is a personal pilgrimage too – we are renting out our home and my wife has relocated to Leeds whilst I am raising the money. A support van follows me on my trek to I can have a break and sleep wherever needed”.
Andy’s epic journey began in the Shetland Islands. He has so far walked 3,900 miles. He added: “I want 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 did an 8,000-mile walk 20 years ago to raise money for starving people in Africa. He attends The Salvation Army in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire.
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 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”.