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Soap star will pedal for girls on sex-traffic route

05 April 2013

by a staff reporter

Raising awareness: Tom Lister in training for his European ride

Raising awareness: Tom Lister in training for his European ride

A FORMER Emmerdale actor, Tom Lister, is planning a 1550-mile cycle ride across Europe to draw attention to the fate of girls trafficked into the UK for sex.

Mr Lister has taken time out from his acting career to cycle the path taken by many young girls who are brought into the UK for sexual exploitation.

He will join a team from the Christian charity Hope, which seeks to rescue victims from situations of exploitation and find them a safe haven. The ride has been named the Zoë Challenge, after one of the first girls to be rescued by the charity.

The cycle ride starts on 29 May. The team will cross six countries, starting from Riga in Latvia, and cycling to the Dutch port of Rotterdam. It will re-enter the UK in Hull, home of the founder of the abolitionist movement, William Wilberforce, before cycling back to London.

Mr Lister said that he would be cycling an average of 90 miles a day during the trek. "I'm passionate about doing this ride. When I heard the stories of some of these girls, they really struck a chord, and I wanted to do something to raise the profile of the charity, which is having a huge impact on the lives of some of these girls."

Mr Lister, a father of two, said that he was motivated by his Christian faith to help others by getting on his bike.

His character was killed off from the Emmerdale storyline last year, after eight years in the soap. He worked in the theatre over Christmas, but is now taking time out to train for the cycle ride. "I'm just waiting to see where God will take me once this ride is finished," he said.

He will be tweeting his progress on @tomlister, and his ride can be sponsored at www.hopeforjustice.org.uk.

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