A YOUNG trainee priest has left Mirfield on a 300-mile walk of faith.
Ben Bradshaw, 25, is walking 322 miles from Mirfield to Buckfast Abbey on the edge of Dartmoor, Devon.
And he is doing so with no money, no food or accommodation.
He wants to raise money for the refugees at Tongogara in Zimbabwe and the disabled residents of Mutemwa settlement, also in Zimbabwe.
And he is hoping that church groups and supporters he meets along the way will help provide him with a bed for the night and meals.
Ben is a trainee priest at the College of the Resurrection, Mirfield, and is dedicating his life to helping others.
He visited both settlements in Zimbabwe last year and heard the horrific experiences the people had endured – including witnessing loved ones being murdered. Their faith is very important to them and has got them through tough times.
The Mutemwa settlement cares for more than 60 patients who all suffer from variousŠ disabilities including leprosy.
They only have one building to worship in, but it is too small and isŠ falling down, meaning theŠ refugees are unable to come together as a community to worship, which is soŠ vital to keep them going.
TheŠ refugees at TongogaraŠ are vulnerable, without shelter and incredibly poor, therefore everyday life at the camp is very tough.
TheyŠ are dependentŠ on the United Nations to provide them with Ša little food and also basic schooling. The church that is being built will also be used as a community centre, allowing the childrenŠ at Tongogara Što get a better education and giveŠ them theŠ best possible chance of a future.
Many of the children have spent their whole lives within the refugee camp and know of no other way of life.
Ben aims to raise £25,000 from this walk.
So far fundraisers have raised £10,000 towards the church building, which has meant work is now well under way, but to finish the church and make a massive difference to the lives of a lot of people more fund raising is required.
Ben said: “I have a big target to reach, which is why I am doing such a challenging walk.
“However, Šif we can raise it, then we will have made a huge difference to the lives of some of the very poorest people on earth.
“I will not be taking any money at all with me on my journey. I will beŠcompletely dependent on God and the kindness of strangers.”
Ben said his motivation to help these people was influenced by John Bradburne, who devoted the last 10 years of his life to care for the residents of Mutemwa before heŠ gave up his life for them and was murdered inŠ1979.
Ben added: “He has become the inspiration for my walk as he lived his wholeŠ life trusting in God and inŠ the kindness of strangers.
“John’s unusual and saintly life meant he was often called a Vagabond of God. He was neither a nurse nor a doctor; he was simply a servant of God, a manŠ who loved the downtroddenŠ and those rejected by society.”
If you would like to donate please go to www.justgiving.com/ben-bradshaw