Heath family takes on steep peak to help fleeing refugees

Stuart, Sibella, James and John Laign at the summit of Ben Hope in the Highlands of Scotland to raise money for Christian Aid - picture courtesy of Christian Aid

Stuart, Sibella, James and John Laign at the summit of Ben Hope in the Highlands of Scotland to raise money for Christian Aid - picture courtesy of Christian Aid

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Three generations of a family from Haywards Heath joined trekkers across the country to climb Ben Hope to raise money to change the lives of refugees.

Ben Hope is Scotland’s most northerly Munro requiring a challenging five mile walk with steep terrain in places to reach the summit.

The walk was deliberately chosen to highlight the difficult journeys refugees are making today to flee violence and war in places such as Syria and Afghanistan.

These are two of 39 countries where Christian Aid works on a daily basis.

James Laing, 41, was joined by his eight-year-old son John and his parents, Stuart and Sibella Laing. Even their working cocker spaniel, Jack, came along.

James, a member of All Saints Church in Lindfield, said: “My family has supported Christian Aid for a long time.

“It’s so important to support the most vulnerable out of poverty and we’ve done this through Christian Aid by giving regularly or during Christian Aid Week in May and by campaigning. More recently I’ve campaigned on environmental issues by writing to my MP Sir Nicholas Soames to encourage him to continue to tackle issues like climate change which is affecting the poorest in our world more than any others even though they have done the least to contribute to it.”

James’ father’s family is from Speyside and the family have been coming up to the north of Scotland for many years, walking up the Cairngorms and other Munros.

James said: “My son John joined in as he is able last year with a shepherd and now he’s climbed a Munro. It was great doing it together and he intends to do more.”

John said: “Reaching the top was awesome. It’s a long way up and we were in the clouds a lot, but eventually the clouds disappeared and the view was incredible.

“But it was also great to be raising money to support people in Malawi where there is a drought and for the many refugees in the world.”

James added: “I felt very satisfied to have made it and relieved to have caught up with the group as we started out late.

“It was interesting to talk to others from different churches and backgrounds who share my same passion to speak up about refugees.”

To find out more about Christian Aid’s work helping refugees and how to help them put the boot into poverty go to www.christianaid.org.uk/trekking or email events@christian-aid.org