Friends go on a mission to Dover to help people in need

Josie Mossman.
Josie Mossman.

Two friends put their best feet forward for an aid mission that has seen them cover 150 miles on foot between Christmas and New Year.

On Christmas Day, New Zealander Josie Mossman and her friend Ryan Longley, 24, set off from his home in Pontefract to walk to Dover in time for boarding a ferry on New Year’s Day to Calais.

Ryan Longley.

Ryan Longley.

They are spending three months volunteering in the French port with the UK based NGO Help Refugees organisation.

The walk was to raise funds to cover the costs of getting there and also to raise awareness of the refugee and migrant situation across the world.

It comes as the UK and France stepped up patrols this month following an increase in refugees risking their lives to cross the English Channel in small boats.

Since November, more than 220 people have attempted it.

Ms Mossman said: “For this trip I was thinking of fundraising and thought I would walk. Sixteen-year-olds walk from Pakistan to Syria over three months and I wanted to get a feel of their journey.

“I can only say what I know, and especially in England you have to be careful what you tell people, and I find that unfortunate. I understand the fear and the scare-mongering but the broader picture – I see someone that needs help.

“Think about if the roles were reversed and it was England and the rest of the world closed its doors, we would think it was unfair.”

While in Calais the volunteer work will involve travelling through forests and the streets handing out food, clothing and medical care and supplies as well as being a person to talk to.

The Calais Jungle was a refugee and migrant encampment in the vicinity of Calais, in northern France, in use from January 2015 to October 2016.

Some 6,400 migrants were evacuated from the encampment in 170 buses in October 2016.