DOZENS of cyclists have set off from Hull as part of a gruelling 2,700km challenge to raise awareness of human trafficking.
The riders, including former Emmerdale star Tom Lister, gathered at the William Wilberforce monument at 8am yesterday to start the Hull to Leeds leg of the Zoe Challenge.
CAMPAIGN ON THE ROAD: From left, Dr Nicholas Evans and Councillor Nadine Fudge with Ben Cooley, Tom Lister, James Altham and Gavin Edwards. Pictures: Kate Woolhouse
They are tracing a young girl’s trafficked journey from Latvia to Southampton.
Starting the leg, Lord Mayor Nadine Fudge said: “As newly appointed Lord Mayor for this year, I am honoured to be raising the flag to start the cyclists off on the first leg of their English journey to Southampton.
“I wish them every success on their journey and this special cause.”
The team, led by the charity’s CEO Ben Cooley, arrived in Hull yesterday from an overnight ferry from Rotterdam.
Mr Cooley said: “It’s fantastic to kick-start our UK journey in Hull, such an iconic city in the story of slavery.
“We are cycling the Zoe Challenge to follow the route of one such victim in the hope that we can help more ‘Zoes’ in the future.”
Riders from Hull, including members of the Hull Thursday Road Club, rallied to show their support for the challenge, with some taking part in the first UK leg of the journey.
They were given a warm welcome by Tom, who played Carl in Emmerdale and has cycled more than 2,000km already.
They cycled 62 miles to Leeds, with the team due to arrive at its final destination, Southampton, on Saturday.
Dr Nicholas Evans, lecturer at the University of Hull’s Wilberforce Institute for the study of Slavery and Emancipation, said: “Tom Lister’s involvement will guarantee people across the region are aware that slavery remains unfinished business and that we should all stand up against this contemporary evil.”
To sponsor the team, visit www.justgiving.com/thezoe challenge.
Source: Hull and Daily Mail
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