24-hour Summer Solstice walking challenge raises funds for refugee project

Staff from our School of Arts undertook a 24-hour Summer Solstice walking challenge across Leicestershire in aid of a pioneering new project to resettle a refugee family from Syria to South Leicestershire.

On Wednesday 20 June at 6pm, Drs Mary Ann Lund, Mark Rawlinson, Scott Freer, and Martín Agnone started walking from Leicester Cathedral - host to Arabella Dorman’s art installation ‘Suspended’, comprised of clothes discarded by refugees arriving on the beaches of Greek islands. Their route took them on a journey to greet the dawn of Midsummer’s day at Old John in Bradgate Park, before heading back to Leicester. They arrived on campus to be joined by colleagues for a stroll round Victoria Park, before heading south towards Market Harborough. Their walk, of about 50 miles, ended there at the Old Grammar School.

The academics had hoped to raise at least £500 for South Leicestershire Community Sponsorship – they ended up raising more than £1,700. This ground-breaking new refugee project enables the local community to take the lead in welcoming and resettling a refugee family fleeing war and persecution, so that they can rebuild their lives in the safety of South Leicestershire.

Dr Mary Ann Lund, Associate Professor in Renaissance English Literature at the University, said: “We’re thrilled to have walked for 24 hours and raised over £1,700 to help welcome a refugee family to our local community. Crossing 50 miles of our beautiful county, we saw some special places along the way: sunrise on Midsummer’s Day at Bradgate Park, Swithland Reservoir in the morning sunshine, even dusk over the M1... We’re tired and aching but very happy. As Chair of South Leicestershire Community Sponsorship, I’m so thankful to my colleagues for coming together and making a real difference to the lives of a refugee family.”

Find out more about the South Leicestershire Community Sponsorship on their Facebook page.