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Community / People walking the Southend in solidarity with Gaza

Campaigners set off from Sumburgh early on Saturday morning. Photos: Dave Donaldson

A GROUP of local campaigners walking a 30 mile long stretch of Shetland in solidarity with the people of Palestine are expected reach Lerwick later tonight, writes Erin Rizzato Devlin.

With an early start around 20 islanders left Sumburgh Head at 6am this morning (Saturday) to walk a similar distance to that of people in Palestine who had to make the arduous journey from the city of Gaza to Rafah.

Walking the length of the Southend the group aims to raise funds for the people in Gaza and for peace-building efforts in Israel.

“People are doing the walk to support humanitarian relief and peace building efforts in Israel and Palestine,” said Green councillor Alex Armitage, who organised the campaign.

“As of today, an amount of £3,000 was raised and we’ve got more money coming in so we are close to reaching our target of £5,000.”

The money raised will be donated to the Palestinian Children’s Relief Fund, a charity committed to bringing food, essential medical aid and care to Palestinian children and youths, and the Green Olive Collective, an advocacy center in Israel dedicated to building peace, understanding and security for all.

The founder of the collective, Fred Schlomka, also took part in support of the campaign.

People doing the walk to support humanitarian relief and peace building efforts in Israel and Palestine. Photo: Dave Donaldson

The group arrived in Bigton at 11am, where the Bigton Weekend Bakery had kindly prepared a middle eastern themed brunch with sweet and savoury baked goods for the occasion.

The bakery will also be selling its goods in Bigton and donating proceeds to the same charities.

The group was welcomed by many members of the community who came to show their support for those who are currently undergoing the walk, or sections of it.

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After fuelling up the group left towards the hills in the direction of Ireland, past Yaafield and down into Maywick, with the aim of reaching Wester Quarff by the late afternoon.

“The walk was so beautiful, I am very glad I did this although it was hard work,” one of the walkers sums up the first leg of the journey.

Participants were encouraged to also bring a household item or a sentimental object with them, to symbolise their solidarity with people who have had to flee their homes and leave the rest behind.

Participants hope to reach Wester Quarff at 5.30pm, where walkers will stop for another half-hour break with hot drinks be provided.

The group will reach its destination in Lerwick at 9pm, after a long day of crossing the entirety of the South Mainland.

People willing and able to join sections of the walk are still welcome to do so, and the fundraising will be open for donations.

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