OXFORD East MP Anneliese Dodds will back a countrywide bike ride to support people who have been forced to flee their home country.

Riders backing the Freedom from Torture charity started their trip from Hastings yesterday and will arrive in Oxford on Saturday, part-way through their 865-mile journey, due to end in Edinburgh on July 28.

A performance of Feeding the Darkness, a play by the Journeyman Theatre, will be introduced by Ms Dodds at the Friends Meeting House in Oxford on Saturday to welcome the riders.

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The show, due to begin at 6.30pm, ‘shines a light on state sanctioned torture through story, poem and song, and its stark impact on victims, perpetrators, families and those who collude in the process’.

The ride is being broken down into 19 stages. Two riders, Moira Dunworth, who is 65, and Shelagh King, who is 64, are riding the whole way.

They will be joined by other riders including Violet Hejazi, a Syrian refugee. She learned to ride a bike so she could take part in the Cycle Against Torture ride.

Ms Dodds said: “Hastings to Edinburgh, via Oxford, is a very long way on a bike.”

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She added: “I’m looking forward to meeting with those undertaking this impressive cycle ride, which is all to raise awareness and funds for the charity Freedom from Torture.

“The charity is there for people who have been subjected to appalling treatment, making sure they receive psychological support and also helping them through the asylum system where needed.”

Pat Winslow, an Oxfordshire poet, will also take part in the ride. She said: “For me, the bicycle is the epitome of freedom.

“I have been a supporter of Freedom from Torture for a long time. Wherever there is injustice, there should be a reaction to it.”