Running London 10k for Syria’s refugees

0703UK_Team ACNBy John Newton
ON your marks, get set, go… Aid to the Church in Need staff and supporters will be putting on their running shoes to help Syrian refugees.
ACN (UK)’s National Director Neville Kyrke-Smith and Head of Press and Information John Pontifex will be joining supporters Harriet Nassozi and Miriam Withers taking part in the British 10k London Run on Sunday, 13th July.
Mr Kyrke-Smith, who just returned from visiting Syrian refugee families supported by the charity in Lebanon, said: “I feel compelled to do my first ever sponsored run to help some of the refuges whom I have met in the Middle East.
“Those who have fled terror and violence now face a situation which seems without hope – two or three families crammed into one room or sleeping outside, surviving in tents if they are fortunate.”
As hunger threatened displaced Syrians who fled to the Valley of the Christians last month, ACN agreed a new aid package of £73,000 (€90,000) – including food, shelter and medicine – for families who had gathered there from across the region including Homs, formerly home to Syria’s second largest Christian community.
The emergency aid, which is part of the charity’s ongoing commitment to help refugees and displaced people, came on top of more than £2.5 million dating back almost to the start of the Syrian crisis.
ACN supporter Miriam Withers decided to sign up for the run after meeting a family who had fled persecution at an event organised by her parish, All Saints, Newport.
She said: “This encounter made real to me the persecution of Christians and I have decided to run the 10k to help raise awareness”.
Starting at Piccadilly, the 10k London Run passes iconic landmarks including Tower Bridge and Big Ben before finishing at the Cenotaph in Whitehall.
The Cenotaph was unveiled by King George V in 1920 to remember the dead of the 1914-18 War and the ending of the race there marks the centenary of the beginning of the First World War.
Prime Minister David Cameron gave his encouragement to the event and highlighted those running for good causes.
He said: “The British 10k London Run has become one of the fixtures in the amateur athletics calendar that so many people look forward to.
“It gives everyone a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate not only their enthusiasm and fitness but also their spirit of generosity as they run for different charities.”
ACN is hoping to raise £3,000 in sponsorship to support its projects for Syrian refugees.
Appealing for sponsorship, Mr Kyrke-Smith said: “I hope that my friends and the friends of ACN will feel able to fund my size 14 feet as I trample a 10k run for those in real need and those who care for them.”
He added: “And please say a prayer for this old runner and the others.”

• For information on ACN visit – or to sponsor the ACN Team raising funds for Syrian refugees by taking part in the British 10k London Run, visit

Editor’s Notes
Directly under the Holy See, Aid to the Church in Need supports the faithful wherever they are persecuted, oppressed or in pastoral need. ACN is a Catholic charity – helping to bring Christ to the world through prayer, information and action.

Founded in 1947 by Fr Werenfried van Straaten, whom Blessed John Paul II named “An outstanding Apostle of Charity”, the organisation is now at work in about 130 countries throughout the world.

The charity undertakes thousands of projects every year including providing transport for clergy and lay Church workers, construction of church buildings, funding for priests and nuns and help to train seminarians. Since the initiative’s launch in 1979, Aid to the Church in Need’s Child’s Bible – God Speaks to his Children has been translated into 176 languages and more than 51 million copies have been distributed all over the world.
Aid to the Church in Need UK is a registered charity in England and Wales (1097984) and Scotland (SC040748). ACN’s UK office is in Sutton, Surrey and there is a Scottish office in Motherwell, near Glasgow.

While ACN gives full permission for the media to freely make use of the charity’s press releases, please acknowledge ACN as the source of stories when using the material.

For more information, contact John Newton, ACN Press Officer, 020 8661 5167.