The event, organised by CAFOD volunteer Tony McNicholl, was a huge success which joined people from all faiths and backgrounds including Catholics, Church in Wales, Presbyterian, no-denomination, and Muslims who were Syrian refugees.
The walk was organised around the promenade which has strong links to migrants and refugees.
During the First World War, refugees from German-occupied Mechelen (or Malines) in Belgium were accommodated in Menai Bridge. In gratitude for the town’s hospitality, they built the 400 metre long promenade along the Menai Strait from Ynys Tysilio (Church Island) to Carreg yr Halen, completing it in 1916.
The 63 Belgian refugees – men, women and children – arrived by train in October 1914 and were greeted in French by the Bishop of Bangor. From Menai Bridge station (south of the Strait), road vehicles took them to the town, passing Royal Welsh Fusiliers who provided a guard of honour on both bridges. At the New Hall in Menai Bridge, the refugees were welcomed by a crowd and given a hearty meal. When the local band played the Belgian national anthem, many of the refugees cried.
Most of the refugees lived at three houses in Menai Bridge, with 12 housed at the Village Hall in Llandegfan.
It was rebuilt in 1963. The ceremonial reopening in 1965 was performed by the only surviving refugee, Eduard Wilhelms. The promenade was resurfaced in 2000 as part of a millennium project.
Share the Journey allows us to take action on the refugee crisis and show your support for people forced to flee their homes. Sign our petition asking the Prime Minister to ensure that the UK takes a lead during UN refugee negotiations and organise a solidarity walk in your parish or community.