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Leigh man embarks on 4,000-mile motorbike mission to Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone suffered over a decade of unrest
Sierra Leone suffered over a decade of unrest
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Tuesday, 03, Jun 2014 02:50

by Philip Lovegrove

Gavin Ayre is travelling 4,000 miles by motorbike to Sierra Leone - the country he and his family once fled during the civil war 20 years ago

A 26-year-old man is returning to Sierra Leone - the country he and his family once fled during the civil war 20 years ago - by travelling 4,000 on his motorbike.

Gavin Ayre was brought up by his family in the war-torn country, while his father worked in a mine. In 1991, civil war broke out on the other side of the African country; three years later it spread across to the mine where Gavin and his family lived, leaving them no other option but to escape.

Two decades since fleeing to Leigh in Greater Manchester, Gavin is now embarking on an epic motorbike journey back to his home country, where he will help set up an "Eco Voluntourism Community" called Tribuo, to help the nation back on its feet.

The centre will house foreign volunteers who will work to help communities overcome the pain of civil war, become self sufficient and prove to the world that it is no longer a country that should be considered a dangerous place.

Talking to The Bolton News publication, Gavin said: "Going back is something I have always wanted to do. Even though the circumstances that we left in were of the worst nature, it doesn't affect the love, warmth and affection I have for the people of Sierra Leone."

Speaking on his harrowing experience of the civil war, the Business English Teacher said: "Supposedly, when seeing the 500 strong rebel force approaching many young army personnel fled into the bush. We had to take refuge in a small bedroom, with mattresses up against the doors and windows."

"Whenever I say I am going to Sierra Leone or I lived there, people remark 'wow, that's a dangerous country' but this is certainly not the case anymore," he added.

Gavin will set off on his 4,000 mile journey in September and needs to raise £4,000 to construct the volunteer centre.

For more information on how to donate, visit www.tribuo.com.

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