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Boy, six, to take on Welsh Three Peaks challenge to support family in Gaza

16 May 2024 6 minute read
Gabriel Fares who is preparing to tackle the Welsh Three Peaks Challenge – Image Emily Fares PA Wire

A six-year-old who “doesn’t stop asking” about his family in Gaza is preparing to tackle the Welsh Three Peaks Challenge to support his relatives in the war-torn territory.

Gabriel Fares, who lives in north Wales, hopes to reach the summits of Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon), Cader Idris and Pen y Fan in 24 hours to raise money to aid a group of almost 50 relatives.

The dates of the climb are yet to be decided, but Gabriel’s mother, Emily Fares, said it looks likely to be in June.

Mrs Fares, 35, who is a registered midwife, told the PA news agency: “He doesn’t stop asking about his family in Gaza and he’s always speaking to his grandad and we mentioned the challenge to him and he just jumped at it.”

Gabriel’s father, who cannot be named for safety reasons, was born in the UK to a Palestinian father and British mother, but has 48 family members who live in Gaza.

The six year old from north Wales – Image: Emily Fares

‘Dire’

Many lived in Khan Yunis before October 7, but moved to Rafah before fleeing to Al-Mawasi as conditions became increasingly “dire”.

“Now, in Al-Mawasi, they are in a tent and have no food provisions, no running water and no electricity,” Mrs Fares said.

“In Rafah, their situation was slightly better – they are now completely destitute in Al-Mawasi.

“At the moment, it’s hard to get in contact with them – they have to walk to get a bit of signal, which in itself is dangerous.”

A “multi-generational” house in Khan Yunis which had nine floors and was where most of the family grew up has also now been “flattened”.

One member of the family sent a message to Mrs Fares earlier in the week, which read: “We want the war to end because we can’t take it anymore.

“The situation is scary and difficult. I cannot protect my children.”

‘Appalling’

Mrs Fares said she and her husband are trying to get all the family members to the UK through an outside the rules, family reunification application, which can be granted in exceptional cases, but the response from the Foreign Office has been “appalling”.

“We got one response back, which was just a pre-generated response,” she said.

“We were devastated.

“It’s disappointing, we just don’t feel heard and it seems like there’s little interest into how people are being affected.”

She added one of her brother-in-law’s friends works for RefuAid and the charity has put her in touch with a law firm that is helping with the visa process, but “it is a very long process and far from guaranteed”.

Some of her husband’s cousins are in the process of applying for degrees at British universities through the university admissions service, Ucas.

“It just hits home how tragic this all is because there’s not universities in Gaza anymore because they’ve all been blown up,” she said.

“They are top students, so we supported them with the Ucas application, which they didn’t need much support with to be fair.

“They’ve been managing to apply when they’ve got no signal and they’ve got broken internet, in the middle of a war zone, with bombs going off around them.

“Considering how they’ve living, and the fear they’re living and in the harshest of realities, there’s such a hunger for life.”

She praised her local MP, Liz Saville-Roberts, for being “really supportive”, regularly meeting with her and trying to speak about Mr Fares’ family in Parliament.

Gabriel Fares, with his mother Emily Fares – Image: Emily Fares

Support

Gabriel is often in attendance at the meetings and has also been on numerous marches in support of Palestine with his parents, in Manchester.

The youngster has been practising for his upcoming mountaineering challenge by climbing the exact mountains he is to hike up, as well as others in the country.

“We looked online and saw there was 180 mountains in Wales, so we’re not short of ones to choose from,” Mrs Fares said.

“We’ve already done the ones that will be on the challenge, just to see what they’re like.

“He’s been really enjoying the climbs and just talks about the family along the way and he’s only six, so there’s time when he gets fed up and tired going up the mountain but we’ll talk about the family and then he just snaps out of it and starts charging up to the top again.”

She added Gabriel has been praying for his family every night and regularly speaks to his grandfather – his dad’s father, who has travelled to Egypt from the UK to try and be closer to his family and cannot be named for security reasons.

On a recent hike up Snowdon, on April 27, which he said was his “favourite”, the youngster also met others who lent their support to those in Gaza.

“There was a big group of hikers from Action Aid up there as well and we were talking to them about Gaza and you’re sort of drawn to it because it can feel quite lonely when you have that constant worry about your family and it was just lovely that day to be speaking to people and seeing what they were doing as well,” Mrs Fares said.

She added Gabriel liked the Snowdon climb because it required lots of scrambling – a form of hiking which requires the use of both hands in addition to feet.

Gabriel will be joined on his climbs by his grandfather, Rob, who is also Mrs Fares’ father.

“He’s not far off 70 and I’m more worried about him as we’ll have to keep up with Gabriel so will probably be huffing and blowing,” she added.

Help

A Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) spokesperson said the FCDO does not comment on individual cases, adding: “We have helped over 300 British nationals, country-based HMG staff and their dependents to leave Gaza.

“A small number of eligible persons remain and we are working with Israeli and Egyptian authorities to support the rest of those who want to leave.”

Gabriel’s GoFundMe page can be found here.

A separate fundraiser to donate to Gabriel’s family in Gaza can be found here.


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Karl
Karl
1 hour ago

What can you say but, awesome.

adopted cardi
adopted cardi
12 minutes ago
Reply to  Karl

Hope for the future. My generation have completely lost the plot over israel’s Genocide and Gaza. Our ally indeed.
The youngsters will turn it round, and our lot will be cast on the wrong side of history. As you say – absolutely awesome is this little lad.

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