A Manxman will commence a momentous journey this month, taking on the length of Great Britain on foot to raise money and spread awareness of worldwide slavery.
John Anderson, who owns local farmstay holiday accommodation Knockaloe Beg Farm with his wife Fiona, will trek from Land’s End, the most south-westerly tip of England, to John O’Groats, on the northeastern tip of Scotland. John will set off on the iconic 1,000-mile route on Saturday 21st September, joined two weeks later by Fiona who will offer morale and support along the way. Fiona will also bring a campervan, which has been lent to them by friends and will act as their temporary home for the epic two-month expedition, expected to conclude on Saturday 16th November.
The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company is supporting the trip by providing free-of-charge return travel to and from the UK for John, Fiona, their daughter Kate and campervan.
The couple are undertaking the ‘Walk for Freedom’ in support of International Justice Mission (IJM), the largest anti-slavery organisation in the world. It comprises a global team of undercover investigators, social workers and lawyers who work tirelessly to protect the world's poorest communities by rescuing victims from slavery and other forms of violence, supporting survivors on their road to recovery, prosecuting offenders for their crimes and strengthening justice systems to ensure laws against slavery are enforced.
John has set a fundraising target of £15,000, approximately enough to fund three rescue missions with the potential to rescue hundreds of people living in atrocious circumstances. So far IJM, which is striving towards putting an end to slavery in our lifetime, has rescued more than 49,000 people from oppression, with its largest operations freeing 564 individuals.
John explained: ‘As I approach the big 60, I want this year to count for something wonderful, so have made it my mission to try and help those who need it most. Our daughter, Zoe, has recently started working for IJM, opening our eyes to the horrifying reality of human trafficking. Today, an estimated 40 million people are trapped in slavery, more than ever before, and efforts must be made to end this. I know the walk won’t be easy, but it is one thing I can do to join the fight for those held and abused as slaves today.
‘We want to spread awareness of the millions that are currently being violently exploited and be part of them one day enjoying the amazing freedom that we have here on the island. We’d like to offer our sincere thanks to the Steam Packet Company for its support of this trip, it really is a huge help.’
Isle of Man Steam Packet Company Chief Executive Mark Woodward said: ‘We are pleased to support this tremendous challenge for such an important and worthy cause. John and Fiona have a long journey ahead but we have every confidence they can do it and wish them great success in their efforts.’
For walk updates, stories and more information about the work of IJM, follow ‘John’s Walk for Freedom’ on Facebook and Instagram. To donate, head to uk.virginmoneygiving.com/johnswalkforfreedom