Our extra pilgrimage this year to see the Pope gives us all an additional opportunity for the whole pilgrim family to meet together for a reunion. With this newsletter comes an invitation from Antony and Alice Leyland to a pilgrimage reunion in Lewes. This will be centred at the Canon O’Donnell Community Centre of happy rest day memories for Sussex pilgrims. Do come even if you were not walking with us in May, and see what we got up to! If you can’t come please write and send in your news for the pilgrim news board, especially if we haven’t heard from you for a long time. The reunion is a bit expensive; all the accounts for the Papal Pilgrimage are not yet in but we expect to have incurred a loss of about £350, so we are trying to make a bit of a profit here!


We urgently require drivers and catering assistants for the Buckfast Pilgrimage. It would be ideal for anyone who would like to share in the pilgrimage spirit without having to walk. Please think hard whether you know anyone you could ask.


The Papal Pilgrimage was being planned for 14 months. First we were going to Canterbury, then Richmond Park and finally Wembley. Then there were doubts about the Holy Father’s health, and then about the Falklands Conflict. As we set off from Arundel Cathedral, with TVS filming me walking beside the Arun, there was still a lot of uncertainty both about the Pope’s visit and the weather. We got wet a few times that first day but the worst rain fell at Burpham while we were in the pub and the church. Beyond the South Downs the sun shone warmly as we walked through Parham Deer Park and through meadows of buttercups to Pulborough. The highlights of the next day were the magnificent Mole Relic Bridge hand built by Patrick Reeve and Mike Roberts to take the pilgrims across a deep stream, and the angry farmer who confronted us with a double barrelled shotgun when Mike lost his way! Weare Street Cottages between Horsham and Dorking was the place where half the pilgrimage missed an arrow subsequently removed by a back-marker before they returned, and they failed to follow our beautiful route over Leith Hill. Next day we lunch stopped at The Old Windsor Castle at Little Bookham and this time received a great welcome from the new landlord. (Walsingham Pilgrims will remember the contretemps on our last attempt to stop there!)

St George’s College entertained us royally and opened the school (!) bar. As all pilgrims know shorts are not recommended wear, but next day Aidan Simons and Susan Turner decided to lead us through several miles of nettles wearing only shorts, and got the heroic front markers reward. Friday morning began with us watching the Pope’s arrival at Gatwick on television from our sleeping bags. There was Bishop Cormac, Cardinal Newman School and lots of people we knew welcoming the Holy Father to Britain. At last the visit was really happening. There was a great feeling of expectancy that day as we walked beside the Grand Union Canal to St Michael’s Hall, Tokyngton in a quiet and green part of Wembley less than a mile from the stadium.

On Saturday morning we were able to get up late and join the crowds (who had left their coaches several miles further away) for the short walk to the stadium. The Papal Mass far exceeded all our expectations. The sheer joy of the event was unforgettable. The Pope was welcomed with rapturous excitement. After listening to his words, sharing the Eucharist, and receiving his blessing we returned to St Michael’s for the traditional celebration meal.

The next day began with Mass in St Michael’s Anglican Church, by kind permission, and then we left by coach. There was a final pub stop at the Rising Sun, Surbiton before we split up for our various destinations ... to continue our pilgrimage in all the spheres of our daily lives.


Malcolm Freret (Sussex Pilgrimage) and his wife had a baby girl on 3rd February. Her name is Grace, and she is their second daughter. On Easter Monday, 12th April, Anthony and Elaine O’Brien (Buckfast 1) had their first child, Jonathan.


On 24th July Margaret Brockman (Pilgrims Way, Walsingham and Glastonbury Pilgrimages) is getting married to Charles King who has joined us for a day on a couple of pilgrimages. Esme Cobbold (Pilgrims Way, Walsingham and Canterbury Pilgrimages) was married in November 1981 and is now Mrs Hayes. Rosemary Ashcroft (Glastonbury Pilgrimage) also got married last year in December and is now Mrs Stephenson. Clare Marsh-Collis (Glaston­bury Pilgrimage) is planning to marry Colin Gamble on August 27th this year.


With all these marriages and births it was inevitable that sooner or later our pilgrim newsletter would carry the news of a death. Sadly my Mother, Madge Haynes died suddenly on Friday 7th May from a Pulmonary Embolism. It was quite unexpected and almost certainly instantaneous. I found her dead the next day at our home in Worthing. Although Mum didn’t walk that much on the pilgrimages themselves, she walked considerable distances with me in exploring them, and not a pilgrimage went by without her appearing at some point. Let me quote Mike Simons, “Dear Madge, mulier fortis, friend of pilgrims, pilgrim herself - in fact, the first of “our gang” to finish the earthly pilgrimage, and arrive at eternity. May it be a glorious arrival. Our first pilgrim in heaven: she will never be forgotten, in or out of our prayers. May she remember us.” She had said she would try and walk the last day from West Drayton of our Papal Pilgrimage, but as Helen Smith said in the prayers at Northolt God-stop, she skipped the last day of the pilgrimage. And from another letter, “Even though she will have missed meeting the Pope at Wembley, she will have a grandstand view to make up for it - far bettor than we could hope for.” Thank you all for your prayers and the Masses that have been said for Mum, and thank you for the support you have given me.


Sarah Lane is suffering from cataracts and is slowly losing her vision. We pray that she may have a successful operation to restore perfect sight.

On 28th May, Alan Fox (Sussex Pilgrimage) began his studies for the United Reformed Church ministry.

Mike Roberts is currently at Eastbourne College of Further Education studying to be a Nursery Nurse. He is the only male in the first year of 50 students.

Mike Simons has “had his veins done” recently, and upset everyone at Clare Park Hospital by making them cheerful!

Carol McMahon has moved, at last, to a penthouse suite in Aldershot.

Elizabeth Wakefield is rumoured to have become engaged to a student from the University of Sussex - no more details yet!

Mark Simons is working as an archaeologist in Romsey.

Margaret Nicholls is now a trainee warehouse manager.

Maria Hocroft (Glastonbury Pilgrimage) is now in her first year of S.R.N. training at Cambridge.

Carolyn Jee (Glastonbury and Canterbury Pilgrimages) has passed her S.R.N,.

Catherine Turner (Glastonbury Pilgrimage) is studying physiotherapy at Kings College, London.


Many of the pilgrims were present in the 40,000 crowd of young people who met the Holy Father at the youth event at Ninian Park, Cardiff. It was a terrific day, and the enthusiasm of the crowd was amazing. Bishop Cormac has invited all those from Arundel and Brighton Diocese who took part to his house at Storrington on Sunday July 18th. There is also a follow-up week-end at Maryvale from June 26th-28th. Forthcoming youth week-ends at Maryvale are November 5th-7th on prayer, and November 19th-21st on Justice and Peace. This year’s Aylesford Youth Day is on Sunday 4th July - always a great event. And there is a diocesan holiday/pilgrimage to Florence, Rome and Assisi for young adults from October 22nd-30th, cost £189. Further details of all these events are available from Karen Goldsmith, Diocesan Youth Office, Maryvale Pastoral Centre, Snowdenham Lane, Bramley, Guildford, Surrey, GU5 0DB.


I still have no news to what my next appointment will be, but the seminary term ends on 3rd July. Although mail will no doubt be forwarded from the seminary, from July onwards it would be better to write to me at Worthing. N.B. Buckfast payments are due by 1st July, and route cards will be sent at the beginning of August.  W.J.H.