The President of Tynwald Clare Christian has welcomed the Rt Hon Lord Bates to Tynwald. The Conservative peer and former MP for Langbaurgh was in the Island en route to Ireland, as part of a 430-mile walk he is undertaking from Downing Street to Enniskillen in Northern Ireland to raise £50,000 to help Save the Children’s work in supporting children fleeing the fighting in Syria.
Lord Bates set off from Downing Street on Saturday July 27th, the first anniversary of the London 2012 Olympic Games, and hopes to arrive at Loch Erne, Enniskillen, the location of the June 2013 G8 Summit that pledged funds to assist with humanitarian relief in Syria, on September 9th, the anniversary of the closing day of the Paralympic Games.
Earlier this year he was appointed to serve on the Olympic and Paralympic Legacy Select Committee. He explained that his walk had been inspired by the purpose of the ancient Olympic Games to promote peace, and said that between Good Friday 2011 and February 15th 2012 he walked almost 3000 miles from Olympia in Greece to Westminster to highlight the possibilities of an Olympic truce for London 2012.
During his three-day stay in the Island, where he was joined by his wife, Xuelin, Lady Bates, he visited Peel and Ramsey and tackled the TT course to add a further 40 miles to his route. He said: ‘I have been truly stunned by the beauty of the Island and the welcome I’ve received. At 52 I’m being physically tested on this walk and have put on some weight, largely because I’ve been fuelled by pints of blackcurrant and soda and eating in fast-food restaurants along my route because they offer wi-fi so I can to catch up on my blog every day. From the outset I’ve been touched by people’s generosity and this led me to make the decision just before I arrived in the Isle of Man to double my original target of £25,000 to £50,000. ‘
Lord Bates, together with his wife and two Chinese student interns, Shoo Yang and Sarah Yu supporting him on the walk, was given a tour of the Tynwald Chambers led by Mrs Christian who said: ‘Where there is fighting in the world it is the children who so often bear the brunt of the conflict. On behalf of Members of Tynwald I applaud Lord Bates’ selfless efforts to support the work of Save the Children. He is an inspiration to us all, raising consciousness of the desperate plight of Syria’s children and I hope that the challenge he has set himself will encourage many more donations to help reach his target and ease the suffering of innocent refugees forced to pay the true cost of civil war in the region.
‘I am also pleased that Lord Bates has found the Isle of Man such an appealing setting for a stage of his walk. We wish him the very best of good luck and continued good health on the road to Enniskillen.’
Lord Bates later left to complete his walk of the TT course before departing by sea next day for Dublin and continuing to Loch Erne. At the time of his visit to Tynwald he had raised nearly £24,000.