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Moray adventurer swimming and rowing Miles for Refugees for the British Red Cross


By Sarah Rollo

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A CULLEN woman is taking on the sea and land to raise money for refugees this September.

Katie MacLean (52) is among people up and down the country undertaking Miles for Refugees – a campaign organised by the British Red Cross.

For Katie, there is a personal and professional connection as she manages Aberdeenshire Council’s Refugee Resettlement Programme.

Adventurer Katie MacLean from Cullen is taking on the sea and land to raise money for refugees this September.
Adventurer Katie MacLean from Cullen is taking on the sea and land to raise money for refugees this September.

She signed up to cover 93 miles – the equivalent of a journey from Damascus to Beirut, which is an example of the journey a refugee might be forced to make in search of safety.

Katie said: "I’ve been doing my miles in any way possible including some wild swimming, coastal rowing, running, walking and cycling, all slowly but surely.

"When the waves are too rough or it’s too cloudy, I’ve been hiking across Aberdeenshire’s hills to carry on with the challenge.

"My lovely friends, family and colleagues have supported me with donations, but I’ve been really moved by donations from Twitter pals who I’ve never met in person, it really does show the power of connecting over social media."

With the current public debate about channel crossings high on the news agenda, sign-ups for Miles for Refugees are up 200 per cent on last year, with the UK public committing in their thousands to run, walk, swim or cycle to help out.

Money raised will go towards supporting refugees and people seeking asylum in the UK. From providing basics like food and clothes to supporting them through the asylum application process, the money will help people stay safe. In 2019 the British Red Cross refugee service supported 38,900 people in the UK.

Emma McCarthy, from British Red Cross refugee support in Scotland, said: "This September we are asking everyone to take part in Miles for Refugees, a fundraising challenge that will have a huge impact on the lives of refugees, people seeking asylum and vulnerable migrants living here in the UK."

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