Walk the Wilberforce Walk

5th October 2023 | From our team

The Clewer Initiative

From Wimbledon to Westminster - an Anti-Slavery Day walk

Richard Smart, a modern slavery activist from Wimbledon, got in touch with The Clewer Initiative to share his awareness-raising idea for Anti-Slavery Day. It is a perfect example of someone taking the initiative to "Do One Thing."

Richard is doing a PhD on ‘London Christian Charitable Walks’ at Roehampton University and is studying under Professor John Eade, a specialist in pilgrimage. Richard is in the third year of his PhD and in his spare time enjoys being a Blue Badge and London Tourist Guide. He worships at The Salvation Army in Wimbledon, and is passionate about combining his academic studies, faith and love of history and London.

His idea for Anti-Slavery Day is The Wilberforce Walk!

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The Wilberforce Walk will take place on Sunday 15th October and start at Wilberforce's Wimbledon home. It will culminate at Westminster Abbey where there is a memorial to Wilberforce.

Richard explains: "As we walk from Wimbledon to Putney, Battersea and Westminster, I will be pointing out significant landmarks and places on Wilberforce's long road to the abolition of slavery, including St Mary’s Putney (which is associated with the levellers who believed that all were equal before God), All Soul's Fulham where Granville Sharps is buried, the Buxton Memorial and Rhodins Burgers of Calais. My hope is that as a result of mapping Wilberforce's journey, many people will be inspired about the part they can play in fighting modern slavery today. It should be a powerful experience for everyone involved. There will be activity sheets for children and people are very welcome to join us for stages of the walk, as well as the whole 12 miles!"

You can join the pilgrimage at the following points:

Wimbledon Station (10 am) to Putney (12pm), departing at 10.30am (heading up Wimbledon Hill Road) – 4 Miles

Putney (1pm) to Battersea (3pm) – 4 Miles

Battersea (3pm) to Westminster (5 pm) – 4 Miles

Richard also hopes to raise money to fund The Salvation Army’s work with survivors of modern slavery and is asking for a minimum donation of £5 from everyone who joins the guided walk.

Richard adds: "I would like the Wilberforce Walk to grow over the years to be a regular walk on Anti-Slavery Sunday, drawing churches and the wider community together to address the issues of our heritage and modern slavery."

If you live in London, why not join Richard and others on Sunday 15th October for this memorable pilgrimage? And if you don't live nearby, could you initiate something similar? What "One Thing" could you do for Anti-Slavery Day this October?

Register your interest by emailing annette.wicks@salvationarmy.org.uk

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