Inspired to raise awareness of the “huge problem” of anti-father bias in family courts, a local man is urging others to join him on a protest walk from Manchester to London.
Father-of-three, Akeib Mahmood (28), wants to address the “unfair and unjust” treatment of fathers in family courts regarding parental alienation, having been involved in his own legal wrangle after an acrimonious break-up with his partner of eight years.
“I don’t feel the family courts are fair on fathers and don’t take into consideration that fathers can be victims,” Akeib said. “I’ve spoken out via social media and I’m far from alone - there are thousands affected - so we have a chance of being heard and to seek change and get justice.”
A former Colne Primet High School and Nelson & Colne College student, Akeib is only allowed indirect contact with his children via letter and feels that, despite having been a present and loving father, he has been treated unfairly by the courts.
Keen to spread the word, Akeib - who has lived across Pendle and Burnley - set up Justice for Dads, and plans to walk the 194 miles - the equivalent of almost eight marathons - from Manchester to London in just six days from August 31st to September 5th, camping as they travel south.
“A group of fathers discussed how we can get attention for our cause,” Akeib said of the event. “People will join at various cities across the UK: a collaboration of like-minded people.”
As well as raising awareness of the tribulations faced by fathers regarding family courts, the walkers will be raising funds for the homeless population of Manchester, with Akeib's friend, Anthony Brennan, spearheading the effort to raise enough to purchase a community mini bus for local homeless groups.
To be used to take homeless people to a hall and get them out of bad weather, to take 18 to 25-year-olds on day trips, and to help with the homeless football team, the Justice For Dads movement will be collecting donations all along their 204-mile route, while a GoFundMe page can be found at www.gofundme.com/community-minibus.
For more information, head to the Dads For Justice Facebook page at www.facebook.com/justicefordad1
Justice For Dad's day-by-day breakdown:
1) Manchester to Hartlington (33 miles)
2) Hartlington to Nottingham (35 miles)
3) Nottingham to Leicester (26 miles)
4) Leicester to Northampton (31 miles)
5) Northampton to Luton (37 miles)
6) Luton to London (32 miles)
TOTAL: 194 miles.