A SURVIVOR of the July 7 London bombings today outlined her plan for a team of walkers to spend a month trekking 200 miles from Leeds to London as part of project to bring communities together.
The WalkTalk scheme has been conceived by Gill Hicks who lost both her legs in the Russell Square Tube blast and was the last survivor to be pulled out alive.
Ms Hicks developed the idea along with her husband, Joe Kerr.
The WalkTalkers will start their trek in mid-July in Leeds – where three of the four London bombers either lived or had strong connections – and will finish in central London a month later.
The route will include Dewsbury, the home of Mohammed Siddique Khan, regarded as leader of the bombers.
Khan, of Thornhill Lees, was joined by Jermaine Lindsay, who grew up in Huddersfield and was a former pupil at Rawthorpe High School.
Local people will be encouraged to join WalkTalk at locations along the route.
The team aims to focus attention on projects which are already fostering local community cohesion.
Ms Hicks, who is originally from Australia, said: “We had been searching for the right initiative to work on together.
“There seemed no better or greater challenge than for us to walk side by side, with each other and with others, in the belief that each step will go some way to building closer communities.
“We don’t know what will happen along the route, but what is important is that we are together and that we are committed to the ‘conversation’ which we believe is vital for a healthy society.”
She added: “During my time in hospital it became very clear what I should do with my life.
“I needed to make a significant difference, to work at building peace and reconciliation and to deter anyone who is thinking of following a path towards violent action.”
The project has been developed with help of Leeds organisations Global Promise and Together for Peace.
Mr Kerr said: “For me, it was one of those lightbulb moments.
“We thought the idea of walking from Leeds to London would be a small, low-key affair, perhaps even just the two of us.
“Even though Gill and I both firmly believe in the power of human engagements we were overwhelmed – completely bowled over in fact – by the enthusiastic response we received when we first approached Together for Peace and Global Promise in Leeds with the idea last autumn.
“In just a couple of months they’ve pulled together a team of passionate and committed people, many volunteering their time and skills, to make WalkTalk a reality.”
The walk will first head to the Beeston area of Leeds, where bombers Shezhad Tanweer and Hasib Hussain lived and where Khan had many connections.
Other proposed stops are in Morley, Wakefield, Barnsley, Rotherham, Sheffield, Chesterfield, Mansfield, Nottingham, Loughborough, Leicester, Market Harborough, Northampton, Bedford, Luton, St Albans and the Barnet, Golders Green, Hampstead and Brixton districts of London.
More information is available from www.walktalk.org.uk