Ryan's message of refugee support

A Sheffield volunteer has represented the city at the biggest gathering of young Catholics in the UK.

Wednesday, 22nd March 2017, 5:00 am
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 9:47 am
Sheffield volunteer addresses 10,000-strong crowd at Wembley

Ryan Wilkinson joined 10,000 other young people from across the UK at Wembley Arena recently, for Flame 2017 - a gathering organised by the Catholic Youth Ministry Federation.

The event, which saw young people write messages of hope to send to refugees around the world, through the Catholic Church’s official aid agency CAFOD, also featured talks by Mike Pilavachi - leader of global Christian movement Soul Survivor - and Sarah Teather - head of the Jesuit Refugee Service. The theme of the day, 10,000 reasons (to hope), was inspired by Grammy Award winner Matt Redman’s song of the same name, which the singer performed at the event.

A spokesman for the event said: “One of the highlights of the day was when teenage volunteer Ryan Wilkinson, from Sheffield, took to the stage alongside Leah Fox, from Newcastle. The pair, both 19, spoke about their life-changing journey to Lebanon last winter to meet with young refugees who had been forced to leave their homes and were being helped by local charities, funded by CAFOD.”

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Ryan, who regularly volunteers at a Salesians retreat centre in Sheffield, said: “Over the past couple of years we’ve both worked with young people to help them understand more about poverty and injustice in the world and get involved with overcoming it.

“I think that as a community, faith ties us together and motivates me to go out and share that passion with others, to help them experience the same sense of community.”