ABOLITIONISTS are to march through Chippenham next Saturday to apologise retrospectively for slavery.

The walk of reconciliation by march organisers and local residents will begin at The Buttercross in Market Place on June 9.

Holding a snake on a pole, which is a symbol of healing, and walking in yokes and chains the 20 participants plan to conduct a short ceremony before setting out on their journey to Bath, calling at Biddestone on the way.

Local people are invited to join the marchers for all or part of the way and to support them financially.

Part of the national March of the Abolitionists movement, the walkers offer an apology for the Atlantic slave trade, which has become known as the African Holocaust.

The Rev Simon Tatton-Brown of St Andrew's Church in Market Place is taking part. He said: "The purpose of the march is to bring an apology for the slave trade (especially the role of the Church) and to help those we meet deal with its legacy.

"We hope to engage with schools, public forums and the media about the true history of slavery and abolition, promoting greater understanding, reconciliation and forgiveness.

"While we walk we remember the black and white abolitionists of 200 years ago and support the current campaigns seeking to end the atrocity of contemporary slavery."

For more information visit www.lifelineexpedition.co.uk/mota