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British lawmaker to undertake epic walk

By Bo Leung in London | China Daily UK | Updated: 2017-07-24 18:00

A British politician is embarking on a 1,000-kilometer charity walk around the UK in aid of the British Red Cross.

Michael Bates, a minister of state at the UK's Department for International Development and a member of the House of Lords, expects to spend 45 days trekking from London to Edinburgh via Cardif, Manchester and Belfast.

Bates, 56, will be supported by his Chinese-born wife, Xuelin Bates, who helped organize the trip.

They aim to raise money for the UK Solidarity Fund, set up by the British Red Cross, to support the victims and families affected by the recent terrorist attacks in London and Manchester.

"We had originally planned a walk in Africa this year, but when the terrorist attacks happened we felt that perhaps this year our help was needed at home and home should always come first," Bates said.

Xuelin said the change to their plans had left little time to prepare.

"Michael said it's a very meaningful deed and it was always what he wanted to do," she explained. "Through this walk he'd like to call for world peace, call for more walks for fundraising in 2017 and get more people to participate and support the charity."

The walk is the latest in a series of charity fundraising challenges the couple have tackled.

In 2015, they undertook a 71-day journey from Beijing to Hangzhou to raise money for Red Cross Society projects in China. Last year, Bates trekked through South America in aid of the children's charity UNICEF.

The couple have pledged to walk 16,000 kilometers and raise 1 million pounds ($1.3 million) for charity over the next 10 years.

Bates said he is confident he can complete this latest challenge.

"This is the sixth walk we have done together and the key is that I know I can do it," he said. "As you get older, the body is weaker but my mind is stronger so that is what I'll be focusing on."

"I believe perseverance is the key for walking," his wife said.

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