Tag Archives: london marathon

Visiting the Northern Greece refugee camps with Tim Farron

Refugee camp Northern GreeceOn Monday I flew out to Greece with Tim ahead of his visit to the camps in the North on Tuesday. Hours earlier UNHCR informed us they would no longer be able to facilitate the visit of a ‘high-profile’ individual given the security concerns after the clashes the day before. I tried desperately to reassure them that it was not exactly a ‘high profile’ visit, there would be no security team, huddle of staff and no media crew following him around– something that I don’t think they really believed.

So we flew into Greece with ‘fluid’ plans let’s say.

I spent Monday night manically emailing all the contacts I had working in the field to see if we could line up briefings for Tim the next day and had a surprising response. Everyone was very keen to meet Tim to tell him what they were doing and what they needed from the UK Government. One organisation who wasn’t even currently in Idomeni, the informal camp we visited on Tuesday morning, came over especially to give Tim and an overview of what was happening on the ground day in, day out.

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Two ways to support Austin Rathe’s Marathon Effort

As I write, my friend and LDHQ Members and Supporters Manager Austin Rathe is heading off on a 26 mile run around London. It sounds so easy to write it like that, but it will be about 4.5 hours of real pain. As I said when I first wrote about his plan to run the marathon, we must be working him too hard if he thinks that a 26 mile run is something to do for a rest.

Let’s just remind ourselves why he’s doing it – for a very worthy cause:

Austin will be running to raise funds for Special Effect, a small charity which helps people with disabilities to enjoy playing video games. You can see some of the good work that they do in this video.

So, if you are suitably impressed by Austin’s effort, there are two things you can do to help him.

First and most importantly, sponsor him to raise money for Special Effect. He’s not far away from £1000. If everyone reading this could maybe give the price of even a coffee, that would make a big difference. I know we are all supposed to be giving all our money to the party at the moment, but we all still have enough left over for that cake to take to campaign HQ or the coffee to have afterwards. So if you could give up today’s snacking money for Austin, that would be brilliant.

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As if Austin Rathe didn’t have enough to do…

Austin RatheAustin Rathe is, as many of you will know, the Head of Member and Supporter Development at Lib Dem HQ. He has presided over an increase in membership over the last couple of years and is the architect of the incentive scheme which makes it worth local parties’ while putting lots of effort into recruiting members.

He is someone who works almost every hour imaginable and is often to be seen responding to queries raised by members not just through the usual channels but on social media, too.

He’s a very busy person and you can’t really imagine him sitting still for more than 5 seconds. I did wonder, though, when I saw that he was planning to run the London Marathon this April whether we were working him hard enough. Or, alternatively, whether we were working him too hard if he thought that running 26 miles was something he’d do for a rest.

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