Liz Marshall – a remarkable woman

It was with sadness and pride that we celebrated the life of a long-term Freedom from Torture supporter on 5th January. Liz Marshall was an active member of our group, most recently also a member of our committee. She passed away in December at the age of 84.

This remarkable woman was a social justice activist all her life, being an early member of both Oxfam and Amnesty International and a strong supporter of the Palestinian people, amongst many other concerns and organisations. She was also well-known for her participation in a number of choirs and a three-choir Edinburgh concert in December held a collection in her name and raised £530.00 for Freedom from Torture – a real reminder of the esteem in which she was held by everyone who knew her.

Liz is survived by her three daughters, Claire, Hilda and Ruth. They, along with their families, arranged a beautiful service which included a traditional farewell song from Zimbabwe sung in Shona by ‘Simply Singing’, one of Liz’s choirs. The packed chapel at Warriston Crematorium indicated the breadth of her friendship circles, with friends from all areas and times of her life coming together to pay tribute to her life. She will be missed but not forgotten. We are grateful to her for her support and enthusiasm for our work to support survivors of torture in the UK.

Alan Brice

Alan has worked supporting vulnerable people throughout his career and is passionate about supporting survivors of torture – he is also a keen cyclist, so his cycling against torture is a perfect match. Currently Clinical Lead in a Counselling Charity and also working with the British Red Cross, he has previously worked with survivors of torture. Normally prone to a detour to find a good espresso, he promises to stay en route…

Violet Hejazi

Violet lives in Glasgow where she is studying for her Highers so that she can apply to study law at University. She hasn’t cycled much so this project is a real challenge for her! She will ride from Glasgow to Edinburgh on Stages 18 and 19.

Happy New Year

Happy New Year to all our friends and supporters. You make the work of Freedom from Torture possible and, so, you make a huge difference to lives of our clients. Thanks!

cyclists and cat statue

Moira and Heidi were out checking routes for our Cycle against Torture 2019. At Linlithgow Canal Basin we posed with this statue of Dudley, who was the cat of canal-side resident and benefactor, Liz Burrows. Equally charming were the members of the Linlithgow Canal Centre to whom we chatted. One of the met his wife at Hastings, the starting point for Cycle2019, so that was a lovely connection.

As we rode towards Edinburgh the sun came out and we felt like we were racing it because it is low at this time of year and looked ready for setting from midday! An issue which became apparent as we cycled was the complete absence of public toilets. As councils have closed more and more of their toilets, it has become a real public health issue. As long as we forewarn our riders, that will be ok for July, though we expect a fair bit of ‘al fresco’ stops.

We were so lucky with the day. It wasn’t warm but the wind was behind us and it was only cold when we stopped. We look forward to many more ‘recce’ days in the months ahead.

Carolyn Burch and Richard Raggett

Two cyclists with FfT banner

Carolyn and Richard are leisure cyclists, not sporty ones, but will cover surprising distances given time (and a café on the horizon). They’ve cycled for Freedom from Torture before, in Devon and Cornwall, inspired by the work the charity does but especially by the individuals they’ve met through FfT’s holiday hosting scheme. They also love cycling as a means of exploration and discovery, and spent the summer of 2018 cycling part of the Iron Curtain trail in Germany. Having retired in 2016 and moved from Cornwall to Crail in Fife in 2017 (flatter roads, drier climate!!), they’re looking forward to more time on the trail and will be taking part in a couple of legs of Cycle against Torture.

Rishi Trikha

Man on Brompton

Rishi is from Toronto Canada and lives in London, where he rides his trusty Brompton to and from work as a course leader in Theatre and Performance Practice at the London Metropolitan University. While in Edinburgh as a judge for Amnesty International’s Freedom of Expression Award he took a few hours off to bike to Cramond. He normally sprints through the London traffic so this was a leisurely alternative and he looks forward to riding some of the Cycle against Torture 2019 with us. His fundraising page is here.

Sam Riches

Sam lives in Lancaster and covets an e-bike, especially for this jaunt. Sam works at Lancaster University where she organises public events on the history and archaeology of North West England and also arranges student placements with heritage organisations. Sam also leads on gender equality at the University. When she isn’t working she enjoys the vibrant local arts scene, especially poetry and live music. 

Heidi Kastern

Heidi lives in Edinburgh and will be joining part of the epic Cycle against Torture 2019. She is a cyclist dedicated to a comfortable pace of pedalling, enjoying coffee shop stops along the way and is known to have enough food and basic bicycle tools with her for (almost) any eventuality. Her bicycle is accustomed to as much sunshine as stormy weather, and as many uphills as downhills. As a rider, she merely tries to keep up with her wonderful wheels.   

Joanna Farmer

Pic of Joanna Farmer in cycling gear

Joanna has been cycling for 5 years after being reluctantly dragged along  by her husband during his mid-life lycra crisis. She’s now fully converted, appreciative of the great outdoors on two wheels, with a blog and Instagram account chock-full of the fields and skies of Bedfordshire and beyond.  Joanna is a British Cycling group ride leader, an accredited track cyclist and a founding member of The Women’s Cycling Community, a collective that encourages women to get out and ride, and share their stories and experience. Occasionally she’s been known to take on massive mileage and mountain climbs, but she’s looking forward to supporting Moira and friends closer to home, on the Oxford to Milton Keynes stage of the ride.