Freedom from Torture - A walk on the wild and windy side

A walk on the wild and windy side

Freedom from Torture’s East Sussex supporters group are very active – so much so that they decided to celebrate Refugee Week with a nature walk along one of the UK’s most beautiful coastlines to raise valuable funds to support torture survivors.

Blog By Sabine Nierhoff

The 65 participants comprised a varied group – reflecting the wide spectrum of people who support Freedom from Torture. There were long-time supporters and newcomers, older people and youngsters, some having travelled from London and even from Norwich to be there.

A guest of honour was former Write to Life member Feride, who had spent over nine years in the UK asylum system and has now gained a scholarship to study archaeology at Winchester University. In addition to a full time job as a receptionist, she spends her days off cataloguing the archaeological papers in her local library, and volunteering on digs. Her poem “You and I” was read out by a member of the supporters group.

Kate, a current writer from the Write to Life project, also took part in the walk and read her amazing pieces “One Memory” and "To Be" during a break along the route. She was a maths teacher in her former country and is keen to continue her profession, so if any supporters in South London need a tutor for their children, let us know!'

To tailor walks to suit the walkers’ wishes and abilities, there were three different routes on offer. The longest route started at Eastbourne and headed up the path onto the chalky cliffs then inland over the downs to the village of East Dean - an estimated four hours return journey for walkers.

There was a slightly shorter walk starting at Exceat and Seaford, also heading to East Dean, taking three hours return. Once again, there were glorious views of the cliffs and sea. In both cases, weary participants could use the excellent public transport system to take a bus on the return leg.

Finally, there was a one hour circular walk from and to East Dean – obviously the central attraction. And no wonder. It’s not just a lovely village but the place where the mouthwatering cream tea was served in the afternoon.

Whatever route participants chose, each one was beautiful, with stunning countryside and breathtaking views. It was a time to chat with others and make new friends, admire the abundant wild flowers and dancing butterflies, and delight in the beautiful surroundings of the South Downs National Park. It was a very windy day, making walking a challenge at times, so people were definitely looking forward to the delicious cream tea by the time they reached East Dean.

Participants paid a fee to join in the walk and were also encouraged to raise extra funds, through JustGiving and other websites. The result was beyond expectations with a total of over £2,000 being raised, with money still coming in.

Freedom from Torture’s CEO Susan Munroe was one of the participants. She said:

It was a perfect day for a ramble on the South Downs and I was so pleased to meet with so many Freedom from Torture supporters. As for the cream teas in East Dean – they were delicious. A big thank you to everyone who helped to make this day such as success and for raising such a grand total.

You can contact the East Sussex Group through Facebook

Sabine Nierhoff is the Local Groups fundraiser at Freedom from Torture. Contact her at




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