The Chain Gang will set off from Dousland at 2.30pm on Wednesday 28th of September and hike 5 miles across the moors, arriving at HMP Dartmoor prison gates about 4.30. The ‘inmates’ will consist of prison officers, Storybook Dads staff and volunteers chained together and dressed as prisoners.
Terry Waite spent five years as a hostage in Beirut and he is the patron and a long-time supporter of Storybook Dads charity. His time in captivity gives him a unique perspective into the trauma caused by separation encountered by prisoners and their families – and the enormous impact that Storybook Dads has on their lives and prospects. Mr Waite says;
"It is remarkable that such a simple idea can have such a profound effect on the lives of these children.”
Storybook Dads enables imprisoned parents to read bedtime stories to their children so that, even though may be many miles apart, the children can still hear their parents voice whenever they need to. As well as bringing comfort to the children, it also helps with their literacy skills and helps to maintain family ties. Prisoners that can keep in contact with their families are up to 6 times less likely to reoffend upon release. The charity operates in over 100 UK prisons and provides a lifeline to hundreds of families every year.
Sharon Berry, the founder and Chief Executive of the charity recently received an OBE for her services to children and families. She says –
“We are just delighted that Terry has found the time to come along and be a part of the event. We had originally asked him to be part of the reception team to meet the walkers as they finished up at the prison gate. But he was determined to join the chain gang for the last leg of the walk from the outskirts of Princetown to the prison. He has always been really supportive but this is even better than we could have hoped for. I’d also like to thank all our chain gang walkers and other supporters for their hard work.”
Storybook Dads relies entirely upon donations so if you would like more information or to make a much needed donation, please visit www.storybookdads.org.uk or find them on Facebook or Twitter