Refugees enjoy an active Dales weekend thanks to vicar's charity

Asylum seekers from war torn countries have enjoyed a weekend of peace and outdoor activity in the Dales, thanks to a charity run by a Huddersfield Area vicar.

Fr Simon Crook and his wife Sam set up ACross Country in 2004 and recently took a dozen people from Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Guinea, Libya, Iraq, Kenya, Afghanistan into the countryside for abseiling and other pursuits.

Two staff from St Augustine Centre in Halifax, and volunteers from the charity joined in the trip.

“We listen to people’s stories, told and re-told as the weekend progresses with more detail and different emphasis as we move together,” saifd Fr Simon, vicar of  St John's Golcar and St Mark's Longwood.

“Some of the stories are harrowing: torture, fear and abuse.

“Some are hopeful: human spirit, faith and love.

“We see people grow taller and more able to relate to others, continuing to heal from many wounds - both physical and mental,” he said.

He and Sam were volunteers at an adventure farm in South Africa for 3 years, when they returned to the UK in 2001 they felt called to run something similar and ACross Country was formed three years later..

“I am struck that in the Bible, when people went on retreat they went into the wilderness, and there they grew and encountered God, sometimes alone and sometimes with others," Fr Simon said.

He also thanked the staff at St Augustine Centre in Halifax, who work with asylum seekers on an on-going basis and thanked Scargill House for its hospitality.

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