This is coming to Settle next
Monday. they will not all be arriving together, but will leave Bentham
around 2pm and be making their way to the Quaker meeting house in
Settle. There is a “meet the riders” meal at the Catholic church hall at
6pm on Monday which all are welcome to come to (although priority for
food is given to the riders). Then the ride departs from Settle meeting
house in the direction of Kirkby Malham and Airton at 9:30am on Tuesday.
“Ride” for Equality and the Common Good –
from Swarthmmor Hall, Cumbria to 10 Downing Street
Sunday 22nd July to Friday 3rd August 2018
A group of Quakers has decided to literally “get on their bikes” or on alternative
transport: mobility scooters as well as buses and trains, to make their way to
Downing Street to “speak truth to power”.
They want to give witness to their concern about the dismantling of the welfare state
– including our NHS and Social Care Systems – and draw attention to the suffering
and distress resulting from recent welfare changes and rising inequality in society.
They wish to challenge the promoted narrative that we cannot afford to care.
They are following in the footsteps of an early founding member of Quakers,
Margaret Fell. In the spring of 1660 in a spirit of non-violence, she rode on
horseback from Swarthmoor Hall, in Cumbria, to London with a declaration to appeal
to King Charles II to end the persecution and suffering of Quakers. At that time
Quakers stood ‘outside the protection’ of the State, which echoes the plight of many
Nearly 360 years later, and in the year that the NHS celebrates its 70th anniversary,
today’s Quakers are travelling around 360 miles over 12 days starting at Margaret
Fell’s Swarthmoor Hall and supported along the way by fellow Quakers.
In London they will present a Declaration to Downing Street written in the style of
Margaret Fell’s, along with compelling evidence supporting and validating their
concern. They are appealing to the government:
• to end the dismantling of the welfare state and the suffering
of those who are victims of the changes
• to renew the welfare state ensuring a safety net for us all
• to commit themselves to act for equality and the Common Good.
In addition they will carry the stories of those affected by welfare cuts on postcards.
These will be presented to MPs. Their postcard campaign has been inspired by the
book by Hans Fallada, “Alone in Berlin,” the story of an ordinary German couple who
engaged in peaceful social action to try to make a difference.
Their action is based on the belief in the right of all to dignity and affirms their
testimonies on equality and social justice. This “ride” is following in a long tradition of
Quakers of challenging social injustices – from opposing slavery to seeking prison
reform. It arises out of their belief in putting faith into action.
“The Welfare State grew out of a vision 75 years ago to reduce poverty, disease and
lack of education and provide care for each of us when ill or unemployed or old. Our
welfare system protects all of us against life’s contingencies.
Despite the debts after the Second World War we chose to afford it. We believe we
can choose to afford it now and we must: The social cost of not affording it is
“We should not stand by and watch the most vulnerable suffering, and our most
valuable social asset, our welfare system, admired throughout the world, being
dismantled. We have a moral responsibility to uphold it”.
The “riders” will set off on Sunday 22nd July following a short meeting for worship
which will frame each day. They will travel through villages: Yealand and Bentham;
towns such as Settle, Skipton, Keighley, Bakewell, Loughborough. Milton Keynes
and Leighton Buzzard; and cities, including Bradford, Huddersfield, Sheffield, Derby,
Leicester, Northampton and Watford where they will be welcomed and hosted by
They welcome all those with shared values to join them at any point on the “ride” for
as long or as little as they choose and can manage.
Information about the “ride” and postcard campaign can be found on http://
and on the Facebook page on https://www.facebook.com/rideforequality.