On his tandem - Moderator embarks on Loch Leven fundraising cycle in aid of refugees

angus
Dr Morrison, his wife Marion and Hannah Mary Goodlad.

The Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland is swapping his dog collar for sports gear to take part in a 13-mile charity tandem bike ride around an iconic loch to raise money to help thousands of refugees.

The Right Rev Dr Angus Morrison is teaming up with Shetlander Hannah Mary Goodlad, who is nearly 40 years his junior, to navigate the shores of Loch Leven - home to Mary Queen of Scots' island prison where she was held for a year in 1567 - near Kinross on April 16.

He said he was "very much looking forward" to the Moderator's Challenge event along Loch Leven Heritage Trail to assist vulnerable men, women and children from the Middle East and Africa who have sought refuge in Egypt.

Dr Morrison, who is minister at Orwell and Portmoak Parish Church, and Miss Goodlad, Moderator of the National Youth Assembly of the Church of Scotland, have described the project run by St Andrew's United Church of Cairo as "inspirational"

The St Andrews Refugee Service (StARS) is one of the first organisations in Egypt dedicated to improving the quality of life of refugees, asylum seekers, and vulnerable migrants and will help 11,500 men women and children this year.

Built by the Church of Scotland over 100 years ago, St Andrew's occupies a tight compound in central Cairo which is now a haven of relative peace and security for those who arrive here fleeing oppression.

Dr Morrison, 62, who this week teamed up with other Church leaders to urge Home Secretary Theresa May to provide sanctuary for more Syrian refugees, said: "'I am very much looking forward to joining with others in this venture to raise awareness of and funding for the StARS project we visited in Cairo.

"Associated with St Andrew's Church, staff and volunteers work tirelessly and selflessly with more than 11,500 refugees each year from many countries, including Syria, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Sudan.

"They work on a tight budget providing education, legal advice, healthcare and other support.

"With Hannah Mary, I was deeply moved by the dedication, skill and compassion of the StARS team, as well as by the desperate plight of those they serve.

"The Moderators' Challenge will bring people together from different parts of the church, some to take part by cycling round Loch Leven, others cycling in their local communities and still others in organising and sponsoring the event.

"Please give as generously as you are able to this extremely worthy cause."

Miss Goodlad, 25, an oil industry geologist based in Aberdeen, said she was deeply moved by the work carried out at the international Christian Church, which provides education classes, legal aid and counselling services.

"We were incredibly impressed with the sheer volume of life-changing and life-saving work going on in the spirit of Christian Love in Cairo at StARS," she added.

"That is why we decided to support the organisation in our Moderators' Challenge," she added.

Last year, the then Moderator the Very Rev John Chalmers and Rachel Hutcheson, who was Moderator of the National Youth Assembly, climbed Ben Lomond overlooking the Loch Lomond to raise money for the Christian Aid Nepal Earthquake Appeal.