12-year-old boy challenges Blair over Iraq first posted 11 September 2002

 LONDON - first posted 11 September 2002 - 240 words

A 12-year-old boy who helped spur thousands of Christians to state their opposition to a war in Iraq, handed a petition to Downing Street yesterday. "It's important for Mr Blair to know that there are lots of people, including Christians and children who don't want war in Iraq" said Tim Saunders from Plymouth.

Tim inspired US activist Jim Wallis to encourage Christians at this year's Greenbelt Festival to sign the Pax Christi Declaration against the 'war on terrorism.'

Nearly 3000 people put their name to the petition this August bank holiday. Tim's direct appeal to Wallis inspired him to urge Christians to sign up and yesterday afternoon he led a party from the Network of Christian Peace Organisations to deliver the petition to No 10.

Tim had come to Greenbelt with his father, Rev Andy Saunders of Hope Baptist Church in Plymouth, who was attending as part of Greenbelt's church leader initiative.

"Tim's appeal to Greenbelters demonstrates just how much we value the ideas and intellects of our younger festival-goers. He has been a great example to those of us who although often inspired by a talk fail to act on it afterwards." commented Festival manager, Beki Bateson.

Tim grasped his opportunity with both hands. He said: "At Greenbelt there are so many people and I thought it would be good to get as many signatures as possible whilst everyone was there."