Clergy bared their soles in Stamford to raise awareness of some of the world’s most marginalised people.
Rev Andy Fyall of Stamford Methodist Church, Rev Martyn Taylor of St George’s Church, Stamford, Rev Nikki Bates of Christ Church, Stamford and Rev Don McGarrigle of St Mary’s, Ketton, all walked through the busy marketplace barefoot this morning (Friday) in support of Peterborough-based charity The Leprosy Mission’s pioneering Feet First campaign in Mozambique.
Feet First has won UK Aid Match meaning that, until August 31, every pound raised is matched by the Government.
Rev Fyall first heard about the project at a fundraising concert held by The Leprosy Mission last month and felt a calling to do the charity’s Barefoot Challenge, which sees people go barefoot for a day to stand in solidarity with, and raise life-changing funds for, the people of Mozambique.
He said: “I basically felt God saying to me ‘you need to do this’, it was a real voice in my ear.
“I then felt him tell me that I need to challenge other clergy to do it with me and then we were blessed to have some willing parishioners join us.”
Leprosy causes nerve damage and robs people of all feeling in their hands and feet. This means that they can easily hurt their feet without even noticing which can lead to terrible infection, deformities and even amputation.
This results in them being no longer work for a living and having to beg for survival.
In a bid to stop the cycle of poverty, The Leprosy Mission is setting up foot care groups in the ultra-poor Cabo Delgado province of Mozambique as well as providing protective sandals to leprosy-affected people.
Rev Taylor said: “As it’s a lovely day it was a pleasant walk into Stamford although we were glad to have a barefoot paramedic by trade walk with us in case there were injuries.
“The whole poverty cycle means people often don’t get the right footwear, jeopardising their income and whole way of life.”
Rev Bates said it was a nice to complete the Barefoot Challenge with clergy from across the town and surrounding area.
“We do the Walk of Witness on Good Friday so this is another great opportunity for us all to get together in the community,” she said.
Rev McGarrigle said he was glad it was no hotter on Friday as he had already stepped on some melted down tarmac.
“I think a lot of people think we’re mad wandering around Stamford barefoot but it’s something different.
“There was just enough room to be confident that nobody was treading on your toes but that was more by luck than design.”