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Nov-03-2011 18:43printcomments

Refugee in walk of thanks to British Military

Last year Johannes, who works for a church, raised over £7,000 for charity in his first Birmingham to London walk.

Johannes Shanmugam
Johannes Shanmugam Photo:

(LONDON Solihull News) - A POLITICAL refugee from war-torn Sri Lanka is walking from Birmingham to London in aid of Help for Heroes and an orphanage in his homeland.

Johannes Shanmugam, aged 48, will walk the equivalent of four marathons in six days and aims to raise over £10,000 for the armed forces charity and Serendip Children’s Home.

Johannes, who lives in Cheltenham, passed through Solihull on Wednesday on the 120-mile trek.

“Being a Tamil my life was in constant danger during the civil war,” he said.

“I survived four attempts on my life, only because I spoke the ruling governments’ local language of Sinhalese.

“The UK has been a sanctuary for so many Tamil people seeking safety from unjust persecution.

British soldier in Kabul, 2007 photo by Tim King

“We have experienced the horrors of war and having made the UK our home, we now want to help British troops be rehabilitated, whilst also supporting orphaned children still in Sri Lanka, who are continuing to suffer.

“The walk itself is a huge thank-you to the British public for the freedom and civil liberties that Tamils have experienced in the UK, still denied to so many Tamil people in Sri Lanka.”

The challenge will finish on Monday at 10 Downing Street where Johannes will deliver a letter to the Prime Minister on behalf of the British-Tamil community, expressing their gratitude.

Last year Johannes, who works for a church, raised over £7,000 for charity in his first Birmingham to London walk.

He added: “It’s so easy to sit at home and say ‘Thank you Britain.’ We want to go out of our comfort zone to say thank you.”

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