A Guinness World Record holder was given a heartfelt east end welcome from the Leader of Barking and Dagenham Council and local cyclists as he visited the east London borough today (18 October) on the last leg of his attempt to break another record and highlight the scourge of modern-day slavery.
Gordon Miller’s Guinness World Record cycling challenge is part of an approximately 2,900 kilometres (1,800 miles) cycle from Cadiz, in southern Spain, via France, to London, to highlight a documented human trafficking route from Africa to the U.K.
Miller, the Ride For Freedom team leader and founder, said: “It’s great to visit Barking and Dagenham again – it’s a borough with a big heart and a passion for social justice and fairness.
“I’m free to cycle but millions of people aren’t. They’re victims of human trafficking and trapped in modern day slavery. It’s a heinous crime that affects thousands in the UK and there are more than 40 million modern slaves worldwide. It needs to be eradicated.”
Councillor Darren Rodwell, Leader of Barking and Dagenham Council said: “Gordon’s Guinness World Record challenge and work to highlight the scourge of modern-day slavery is hugely important. It’s scandalous that slavery exists in what is meant to be a civilised society – it needs to be wiped out for good.”
Russell Coe of Barking and Dagenham Cycling Club, whose youngsters met Gordon today, said: “Hopefully in some small way Barking and Dagenham Cycling Club is contributing to rid us of this evil modern slavery trade.”
Pat Hayes, Managing Director at Be First, which is backing Gordon’s record attempt, said: “It’s great to welcome Gordon to Barking and Dagenham. We’re proud to back him in his record attempt and quest to stamp out slavery.”
The ride, named El Gordo (which translated from Spanish means the ‘big/fat one’), is fundraising to support the development of Freewheel by Ride For Freedom. The programme empowers survivors of modern slavery to cycle to support their independence, mobility, mental and physical health and wellbeing.
The 18-day tour, which Miller rode solo in part and with other cyclists in England, is supported by bike manufacturer Orbea, for whom Miller is a brand ambassador, and sponsored by several companies. Marshalls Plc is the headline sponsor.
“I’m delighted to be associated with these purpose-driven companies,” said Miller. “Their support has enabled the ride to go ahead by underwriting the administrative, logistical and marketing costs to raise awareness to end modern slavery. It also contributes to the development of the Freewheel by Ride For Freedom programme.”
Miller set a Guinness World Record in October 2020 when he cycled 620.5 miles around England to spell the words ‘End Modern Slavery’. The verified challenge saw him become the title holder for “the largest GPS drawing by bicycle (individual)”.