QUAKERS are preparing to cycle the 360 miles from Swarthmoor to London to draw attention to their plea for “equality and the common good”.
The starting point of their 13-day bike ride, Swarthmoor Hall, is known as the cradle of Quakerism. There, in 1652, Judge Thomas Fell and his wife Margaret provided protection and hospitality for early Quakers, notably George Fox, one of the founders of Quakerism.
The Ride for Equality and the Common Good is to embark from Swarthmoor Hall on Sunday, July 22, and arrive at Downing Street on Friday, August 3.
The riders plan to present a declaration appealing to the government to “end the dismantling of the welfare state and the suffering of those who are victims of the changes”.
The Quakers say they have serious concerns about the “distress” caused by changes to the benefits system, including the introduction of Universal Credit, and the rise in use of food banks.
They are calling for the government to “renew the welfare state ensuring a safety net for us all”.
The riders, who will be travelling by bike and mobility scooter, say they are following in the footsteps of Margaret Fell. In spring 1660 she rode to London with a declaration appealing for Charles II to end the persecution and suffering of Quakers.
Quaker meetings along the route from Swarthmoor to London are to offer lunches and overnight hospitality.
The first day, July 22, will take the riders 34 miles to Yealand, via Cartmel. The second day’s stage is 28 miles from Yealand to Settle, via Bentham.