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Harrogate and Leeds campaigners attend world hunger protest in London


A Harrogate church Deacon and his daughter joined a coach load of CAFOD campaigners from Leeds to make their voices heard last Saturday.

The Deacon from St Aelred in Harrogate attended the Big IF London rally to demand Prime Minister David Cameron and G8 leaders tackle global hunger. The rally took place as the Prime Minister prepares to host eight of the most powerful nations in the world at the G8 summit in Northern Ireland.

David Arblaster, the recently retired Director of Student Services at Leeds Metropolitan University, and his daughter Cathryn, had an early 6am start for the four and half hour journey to take part in the family day out and campaign against hunger. They carried a banner covered in messages from St Aelreds Parish in Harrogate, where David is a Deacon, calling on Prime Minister David Cameron to use the UK’s G8 presidency in 2013 to prioritise the issue of hunger.

David said:

I wanted to travel to London as I feel it’s important to be physically present at an event so politicians can see us putting ourselves out on the streets to show what we believe in. It is unjust that so many people in the world go to bed hungry and children are dying. For me it’s a matter of justice. We should share the goods of the world.

Bill Phelps, 64, a graphic designer from Chapeltown in Leeds, was also among the Leeds group.

Bill said:

I want to live in a world of justice and I want to do what I can to help put right the wrongs in the world. It was an amazing event that was really encouraging. It was inspiring to hear Bill Gates speaking as a rich person on behalf of the poor


CAFOD’s manager for Leeds, Margaret Siberry said:

Parishioners and schoolchildren in our area wanted to show their solidarity with the 1 in 8 people in the world who go hungry every night. David Cameron and his fellow leaders heard us loud and clear that in this day and age children should not be dying because of hunger. There is enough food for everyone and it is up to politicians to end this scandal and change the system that creates this unnecessary suffering.

The Leeds group helped to create a huge visual petition of 250,000 spinning flowers, with a total of two million petals representing the two million children who die because of hunger each year – lives that can be saved if world leaders take action at the G8.

The Big IF London Rally kick started a 10-day campaign in the run up to the G8 summit in Northern Ireland, calling on world leaders to take specific steps which could help create a world free from hunger:

  • Helping poor countries make sure that people have enough nourishing food and support poor families to grow their own food, particularly championing the call for aid that empowers small-holder farmers;
  • Tackling tax havens and launch a Convention on Tax Transparency to stop billions of pounds that flow out of developing countries and could be used to end hunger;
  • Giving people in developing countries more control over their land by protecting poor farmers from land grabs and using land to grow food not biofuels.
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