With this newsletter comes an invitation to this autumn’s pilgrim’s reunion at Epsom, not just for those who came to Evesham, but for all those who walked with us in past years. I do hope that you can be there! Next year’s pilgrimage will be to Lindisfarne, Holy Island, in Northumberland. This will obviously be more demanding both in planning a pilgrimage so far away, and in walking in the Northern Hills. But during the last pilgrimage 9 people offered to help with route planning and over 40 said that they would take part. Since then accommodation in the S.V. P. Youth Camp on Holy Island has been confirmed so the Lindisfarne Pilgrimage is on! The dates will probably be Saturday 18th August to Monday 3rd September 1984. Looking still further ahead, 1985 will be our tenth anniversary year; our first pilgrimage was in 1975 when we “beat the bounds" of the Diocese. The obvious anniversary event would be to go round again, but now we take rest days on our pilgrimages, and having discovered a few extra corners of the Diocese, like Selsey, it would have to be a three week pilgrimage in 1985! But hopefully the first occasion the pilgrims meet up again will be at Youthgather at Effingham on Sunday 25th September. There is a coach from Brighton: ring me.
Beyond these two pilgrimages we will be looking for a new pilgrimage organiser! During the Evesham Pilgrimage I announced my intention of resigning my overall responsibility for the pilgrimages, and I definitely intend to do this by 1985, at which stage someone has offered to take over. But meanwhile it would be useful to split up the task a little to make it somewhat less of a full time job! Someone could be responsible for this newsletter, someone else for the finances, others perhaps for overseeing the route planning, or for purchasing and storing the supplies. All these jobs need people who like to do things as soon as possible rather than as late as possible: some last-minute-minded route planners have given me more headaches than help! Anyone who would like to volunteer should let me know as soon as they can please.
MORE PILGRIM WEDDINGS
Alan Keogh (Sussex Pilgrimage) is getting married to Karen Hopkins at Our Lady, Star of the Sea, Portslade at 2.00pm on Saturday 22nd October, Alan is now a first year student nurse.
Michael Richards and Hilary Watts, who met on the Sussex Pilgrimage, will be getting married at 2.15 on Saturday 12th November at St Paul’s, Haywards Heath.
Congratulations to George and Karen Evans, and to Tim and Tania Edwards, recently married. Karen and George climbed Ben Nevis on their honeymoon and after four weeks are still saying marriage is marvellous!
Susan King, who came on the first two pilgrimages, became Mrs Sue Cobban on April 9th at St Joan’s, Farnham. She is now living in Islington,and teaching Science and English at St Mary’s RC High School in Croydon.
This is the title of the Catholic Association of Young Adults 4th National Rally in Liverpool, 11th-13th November. This will be a great occasion and well worth travelling to. Elaine Kelly will send you full details and hopes to coordinate transport. But hurry applications must be in by 1st October at the latest.
ALL SORTS OF NEWS
Roger Galvin cycled to Rome this summer and discovered the joys of making a pilgrimage alone, Now he has a place at Heythrop College, London.
Jimmy Dean also got to Rome this summer on a hitch hiking tour around Europe.
Susan Turner has won a place at Brunel University, London.
Hugh Pyle is going to Jesus College, Oxford.
Dr Lucy Grafen qualified in June and is working in Croydon.
Carolyn Jee has just returned from Zambia where she was nursing in the bush.
Vincent Darby is now in the R.A.F, and has just returned from the Falkland Islands.
Carol McMahon has been touring the Far East visiting Thailand and Hong Kong.
Clare Gamble (nee Marsh-Collis) gave birth to a baby boy, Anthony Paul, weighing 10lbs on 3rd August.
THE EVESHAM PILGRIMAGE
Two coach loads of happy pilgrims returned home from Evesham feeling that they had most certainly received their share of the blessings of the long hot summer of’ 1983. For a fortnight we had walked almost entirely in bright sunshine all the way from Lewes to Evesham. 41 of us had walked every step of the 200+ miles, and 140 pilgrims took part in all, plus a further 112 who joined us for a few miles or a day en route, One of the very happy features of this pilgrimage was the way in which so many old friends joined us either for a day’s walk, or in some cases a night’s drinking!
On Sunday 14th August well over 100 walkers set out across the South Downs, past the site of’ the Battle of’ Lewes where Simon de Montfort won his victory in 1265, on our journey of over 200 miles to Evesham, where that campaigner for representative government died in the battle of 1266, We crossed the wide open hills of the Sussex Downs and descended the steep slope of Black Cap to the lower lying farmland of the Weald. After a nights rest at St Wilfrid’s, Burgess Hill, it was on through the wooded central Weald to Horsham where we enjoyed the hospitality of the Methodist Church, Next day ended through the sandy heathland around St John’s Seminary, Wonersh, where it was marvellous to see the pilgrims sleeping along the whole length of the Ambulacrum. A special crossing of the River Wey at St Catherine’s Ferry brought us to the old Pilgrims’ Way which we followed to Farnham. This was the occasion of the first of two “hall miracles”, Finding St Joan’s Hall deep in the throes of rebuilding, at a moments notice we were offered the use of’ the Farnham Memorial Hall, providing homeless pilgrims not only with a home for their rest day but also with showers! Rest day activities for the more active included a visit to the Watercress Railway Line,
Refreshed by our day off walking we set cut again through the Hampshire countryside to Old Basing where we enjoyed the facilities of their magnificent new village hall, Then on again via the site of the ancient Roman town of Silchester to Douai Abbey, where we had the luxury of sleeping on beds! Next day took us through the Chiltern Hills, and brought the first rain of the pilgrimage when many foolish walkers got soaked having left their rain gear behind thinking that the sunshine would last forever! We slept that night in no less a building than the new Didcot Civic Centre, Then on through the Thames Valley, celebrating Mass by kind permission in Dorchester Abbey, visiting Newman’s Littlemore, and so to Oxford, where we enjoyed our second rest day in that beautiful city of’ learning and dreaming spires.
Leaving Oxford by the canal side we came to Yarnton on their patronal feast of St Bartholomew, and then on through Blenheim Palace grounds skipping a mile of our walk by taking a trip on the miniature railway! And then we were in the Cotswolds with their rolling hills and beautiful villages of creamy stone, We stopped overnight in the Cotswolds at Charlbury and Moreton-in-Marsh, and came eventually to the edge of those hills at Broadway Tower Country Park offering an extensive view over the West Country and Midlands. Then a final afternoon’s walk down to that tourist trap of the Cotswolds, Broadway, and on through the market gardening areas rich in varied vegetable crops and plum orchards to our goal, the town of Evesham.
We waited for everyone to gather together by the Workman Bridge over the River Avon, into which several pilgrims had the misfortune to be thrown, and then we made our way to the site of the old Evesham Abbey, Only the tower and two churches remain, but it is here that Our Lady appeared to Eoves in 701, where Simon de Montfort was buried, where one of the largest monasteries in England flourished in the Middle Ages and which at that time was one of England’s most popular places of pilgrimage. Evesham is probably the only town in England which owes its origin to an apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary. And then occurred the second “hall miracle” of our pilgrimage. Our 100 pilgrims just could not fit into St Mary’s Hall, so Father Kenny opened up his presbytery to us for the weekend and by pilgrims sleeping in almost every room, and by eating outside in the bright sunshine, we all managed to find a place to lie down. The next day was a day of celebration with a Mass in the parish church and a celebration meal in our outside dining: room, And so on Sunday 28th August we boarded two coaches, had a final lunch stop together by the Thames at Skindles, Maidenhead Bridge, and were taken home to our various destinations in Surrey and Sussex.
BE PROPERLY ADDRESSED
The new arrival at the Woodingdean Presbytery has filled the house with the patter of tiny keys. Among other things the new machine can do, it can address all the pilgrims envelopes. Is the address and postcode on your label correct? Please let me know if it is not. W.J.H.