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Newport Gap Sanctuary, Abergavenny Town of Sanctuary, TGP Cymru and HBTSR climbed a mountain today

On a glorious Friday, Newport Sanctuary,HBTSR, Abergavenny town of sanctuary and TGP Cymru representatives climbed Skirrid in memory of Mustafa Dawood and to publicise Lift The Ban campaign which asks that  people seeking asylum can be allowed to work. Work will allow them to have more dignity, an occupation to take their minds off their dragons,  to make friends, to pay taxes and integrate better into the community.A young lady who I walked with told me that work would allow her to help others, to pay for what she needed, to have a better house and to look after her family.

Photo taken last year on a walk up Skirrid

Mustafa Dawood died during an immigration raid in Newport. People want to work  for very many reasons, to help pay off debts,  to send money to family left behind, to pay for things they need, to socialise, to have a purpose in life, to give back to the community that has taken them in, to forget their problems and many other reasons. The country would benefit from the many skills that people have and that atrophy whilst they cannot work. Lift The Ban coalition of which we are a member articulates the case well.

The  younger members of the party went up very quickly and some even removed their coats on the way! Us older people went up more slowly chatting as we went. Lee from TGP Cymru  kindly staying behind told us more about her advocacy work with young people and I for one was very  pleased that someone so kind and empathetic  is involved in helping unaccompanied asylum seeking children . We hope that in the future we may be able to offer trips out to some of the youngsters that she is helping.

A lovely spot for a picnic- If anyone is ill tonight then i hope they don’t blame the Banana Cake…

At the top we stopped for a picnic and then gathered round the Trig point to have a minute’s silence in memory of Mustafa. Then we took photos of our group to publicise the Lift The Ban campaign. B had come from London to be with us as Mustafa was his friend and was glad he had not been forgotten.  Then we signed postcards about the campaign that will go to the Home Secretary the week after next. I bet this could have been the highest point at which that postcards have been signed?

And almost as many the other side!

A scramble down which also was easily done by the youngsters allowed for more chats. In the car park a young man had his car stuck on a log [ don’t ask]. It was easily dislodged by the power of 12 or more  fit young men. He was overwhelmed saying he’d had his faith in humanity restored. Once told that all these people were seeking asylum he readily agreed to sign a postcard – ironically had these men been allowed to work he wouldn’t have  been able to have his car moved…


The final good news came through that a popular young man well known to Newport and some of us, heard this afternoon that his Refugee status has come through . He has been waiting many years. If we’d had champagne we would have undoubtedly opened a bottle. With that Lady Karen  of Knights of Wales started up the bus and we reluctantly waved goodbye.