CROWDS of people will take to the streets of Darlington in the name of peace later this month.

Now in its fourth year, the annual Walk for Peace will see scores of people wind through the town on Sunday, November 25.

Between 12.30pm and 3.55pm, walkers will pay visits to a number of places of worship as they work their way from the Friends Meeting House to the Dolphin Centre.

Organised by Darlington for Peace to forge bonds between communities and to bring people of varied cultures and backgrounds together, the walk also stands in opposition to hate crime.

Since the inaugural Walk for Peace in 2015, hate crime figures recorded by police and released for England and Wales have soared, from 52,528 in 2014/15 to 94,098 in 2017/18.

The majority of the crimes – 76 per cent - were racially motivated, while 12 per cent were targeting sexual orientation, nine religion and eight per cent targeted those with disabilities.

The figures for this year continue an upward trend, with the number of hate crimes recorded by police having more than doubled since 2012/13.

A Government report said: “This increase is thought to be largely driven by improvements in police recording, although there has been spikes in hate crime following certain events such as the EU referendum and the terrorist attacks in 2017.”

Organiser Matthew Snedker said events like the Walk for Peace were necessary when some people in Darlington were living in fear. He said: “The walk began because hate crimes were happening in Darlington and they are increasing, both in number and severity.

“Home Office figures show that since the walk started, the number of hate crimes has soared and this is not something that will go away.

“I’ve spoken to people who are doing their best to integrate into the community, who have found a home here and have worked hard to become part of every day life in Darlington are feeling like strangers in their own town.

“Some have received horrible abuse and are left fearful and intimidated – that is so wrong and it’s happening on our streets.”

The event will begin with walkers visiting the Friends Meeting House on Skinnergate from 12.30pm until 12.45pm, Saint Augustine’s Church from 12.55pm until 1.05pm, Bondgate Methodist Church from 1.15pm until 1.25pm, Jamia Mosque from 1.35pm until 1.45pm, St Cuthbert’s Church from 2.05pm until 2.15pm, Sikh Gurudwara Sahib from 2.35pm until 3.20pm, the Atisha Kadampa Buddhist Centre from 3.35pm until 3.45pm. The walk ends at the Dolphin Centre at 3.55pm.