Dear Pilgrims,

It’s all good news on the pilgrimage planning front. Danny Thomas, our Accommodation Officer, has taken the West Country by storm! With a campaign that would out flank most military Generals, he has in record time procured all the necessary overnight accommodation. Our Chief Route Planner, Hair Bear (Maurice Hickman), has sent out the Hall locations and details to the Day Route Planners, who should at this moment be planning their routes.

At the planning meeting on 14th January, the organising team reviewed the answers from the questionnaire given to pilgrims at the end of the Martyrs’ Pilgrimage. Our thanks go to Andy Ollard and Terry Dobson for their efforts in collating so much information and to all of you pilgrims who found the time to fill in the form. We will be trying to use your thoughts and perceptions when planning this years pilgrimage.

As our Diocesan Pilgrimages have evolved, we have become aware of the importance of a good theme to reflect on on our journey. The theme usually comes from the life of a Saint associated with our destination or, as in last year’s pilgrimage, the whole walk was centred around the theme of martyrdom. The problem with Buckfast Abbey is that we have already had a Benedictine theme recently (on the Hereford pilgrimage) and that there isn’t a Saint associated with the location. So what shall we have for a theme this year?.. Well we are going to be spending a large part of the pilgrimage walking along next to the sea... there are fish in the sea... Many of the apostles were fishermen...Yes that’s it! We are going to look at being “Fishers of men”... no that’s sexist... er.. “Fishers of men and women”... no that’s too long... er... Fishers of Fish”... no... er... “We’re going fishing?’”… Hang on we’re in the EEC now.. .Fishing Regulations… so… er... must be politically correct... er. . . “Fishing our quota as laid down by regulations in the Bible in spite of our modern world and its concerns for the Superfluous at the expense of the necessary!” Joking aside, as Father Bill put it, there could be a great deal of value in focusing in on our modern day apostolic responsibilities.

During our celebration of 20 years of pilgrimages at the Ropley Reunion last year, many pilgrims expressed how nice it was to see the children of pilgrims there and joining in the festivities. The fact that they were able to come was mainly down to the foresight and planning of Aidan and Imelda Simons who organised the Reunion. It is an unfortunate logistical fact that the pilgrimages arc suited to healthy “adults” and so pilgrims who have families can feel excluded by their responsibilities to their children. However this year, encouraged by our experience of the Ropley Reunion, we are going to experiment with the idea of having certain FAMILY FRIENDLY halls where there are sufficient rooms to better accommodate the needs of parents with their children. So if you are a Pilgrim, have children, and would like to join in on this years pilgrimage, the halls to make note of are:


The McCabe family have for many years managed to overcome the logistical problems of pilgrimaging with children and I have asked them to share with us how they have overcome the obvious difficulties so well. It is hoped that this may help encourage and inspire those pilgrims who had previously thought that parentage and pilgrimage were exclusive of each other, to come again.  See "The Family Guide to Pilgrimaging"

And so looking forward to the Third Buckfast Pilgrimage, I have heard stirrings in the ranks, rumours are rife, that names that haven’t been on a pilgrimage for years have been tempted out of retirement by the thought of such a beautiful walk along the South Coast to Devon!!!!! Grafans and McFarlanes etc., we await your application forms!

Hope to see you all in August for a day, a week, or the whole way.

God Bless. Love & Prayers Patrick Reeve


Are you planning to join us on pilgrimage this summer? Will you host the 3rd Buckfast Pilgrimage Reunion? Each year towards the end of the pilgrimage we ask pilgrims to consider organising a reunion, which would take place on a weekend during the autumn. Sometimes, the host pilgrims like to arrange a barn dance, or special event for the Saturday evening. Dance bands and callers are often booked up several months in advance. For recent reunions it has been difficult for organisers to find such performers at only a few week’s notice. So, if you were thinking of hosting the reunion, and planning something like a barn dance for the Saturday evening, a band and/or caller would need to be booked as soon as possible. But, before booking the band, you should first find a suitable hall which has the facilities required for a pilgrimage reunion! Check the availability details for the accommodation and provisionally book it for the weekend. If you are interested in hosting a reunion please contact Patrick Reeve on (01273) 414627 to discuss your ideas before you begin making arrangements.


As the weekend of 3-5 November drew near, the hardy(?) walking pilgrims of the A&B Diocese (and beyond) were rather nervously listening to the weather forecast. Not that we didn’t enjoy the 1994 reunion! - but following arrows through pouring rain and thick fog, ankle-deep in mud, soaked to the skin, water sloshing about inside walking boots - these are pleasures best savoured at rare intervals.

Some of the early arrivals at St Leonards on the Friday evening had a little difficulty finding where to assemble, but, refusing to join the vigorous international folk dancing group temporarily occupying our sleeping quarters, they eventually found the rest of the pilgrims sharing soup and rolls in the John Fisher room, and warm and joyous greeting were exchanged. (How is it that, within moments, it seems again that we have never been apart?)

Saturday morning dawned bright, clear and crisp; more people arrived, including the newly-weds, John and Louise; and as we set off along the St. Leonards - Hastings seafront on our day’s walk (Skilfully planned and led by Maurice), the sharpness of the slight wind was soon counteracted by the warmth of the sun and the briskness of the pace. After passing the extraordinary and unique net huts, we climbed up to the top of the cliffs (splendid coastal views), and eventually turned inland to be restrained from following the flags on the golf course). Lunch was at a very pleasant pub, “The White Hart”, Guestling, (a sort of Tudor Ski Lodge). Those who indulged in the dessert specialities needed a little help to start on their way afterwards! We arrived back at the heights above Hastings just as the settling sun was turning the sky and the sea golden. It was so beautiful and the day had been so enjoyable, we were filled with peace and gratitude...

“And you, the heavens of the Lord, O bless the Lord,

And you, clouds of the sky, O bless the Lord...

And you, sun and moon, O bless the Lord...”

Then back along the seafront through a darkening blue - and - silver world, the rising full moon reflected in the wet sand and the smooth sea.

As befitted a “20 Blistering Years” reunion, the recalling of previous years’ pilgrimages was an important part of the evening’s activities - Brenda’s compilation of superb photos from 12 pilgrimages; and Fr Bill’s slides going back, it seemed, to the year dot, which everyone watched entranced and with much hilarity. Who are those svelte youths?? Not Patrick, surely!! And Julian!!! A particularity favourite memory (of course) was the time (Walsingham 2, 1987) a sudden cloudburst flooded the route and turned the intended night’s lodgings into an indoor sea! Some who had been rather mystified by the choice of Buckfast again, for next year’s destination, were able to see, in these slides, something of its irresistible attraction. Those of us who hadn’t been on the early pilgrimages were struck by the great numbers of young people on these walks and by the way people of all ages sang and danced along the route (something to revive next pilgrimage, perhaps?)

But the highlight of evening was the slide show of the 1995 pilgrimage, put together by David Cosham, who gave his mischievous sense of humour full reign (what is a “massaging sort of kiss”, Lou ??) - Lots of laughter, many happy memories.

Eventually, we shared the evening meal, prepared by the slightly battered, but definitely unbowed, Frances. Later still, some of us retreated to France’s eyrie and, under the influence of healthy exercise, good food, camaraderie and alcohol, reviewed our lives and replanned the world and the Church.

Sunday morning Mass was in the surprising church of St. Thomas of Canterbury and English Martyrs — surprising because the modest exterior conceals an interior riotous with colour and pattern. Once again, the pilgrims experienced that feeling of being a closely bound group within the wider Christian community. After Mass, to our delight, Alan and Eileen Fox suddenly appeared, having made a great effort just to join us for a short time.

Then coffee and departure, with everyone wishing the Walking Pilgrimages many more flourishing, blistering years.



The results of the Pilgrimage Evaluation carried out towards the end of the Martyrs Pilgrimage have been collated. Members of the Organising Team received copies at their meeting in January. There are some interesting suggestions and points raised and some of the. suggestions will be followed up. Copies of these results are available to all pilgrims, if you would like a copy contact Andy Ollard.


How far is it to the end, the Pilgrim sighed,

The solitary figure, sweating as he paused.

Sultry the noon, the clouds terrified,

Fled far distant, high pressure caused.


The spectre of pilgrimage aroused;

The taut legs shivered, driven by the sun.

Not another hill to be hurdled;

Yes, I will traverse this one.


The lady with neat hair, dressed in blue. Where is she?

He shook his head, hesitated for her to pass.

Mercury aroused, seething another degree,

The heat haze clouded her face, alas.


She was the very ridges that he must scale,

Scourging the rough summit: and how she smiled.

How his strength would issue, not to fail,

Having her beside him - serene, assumed, undefiled.


This lady, beautiful as the moon at her feet,

Our desire her son, in heaven to meet!

 Danny Thomas

From John & Louise

Dear Pilgrims

Thank you for the duvet cover which you clubbed together to get us for our wedding present, and, for the card too. The duvet cover is cream with an embroidered pattern on it. We had a lovely wedding day and pilgrims contributed a lot to it, with lots of orange arrows around, pilgrim musicians too. Fr Bill officiated and Eileen Fox made the cake and the bouquet. Lots of pilgrims took photos and David Cosham even made a sound recording. We felt very fortunate to be part of the pilgrim family.

After the wedding we had a honeymoon in north Devon. We kept well away from next year’s route, and had a relaxing time after all the stress of wedding preparations.

The pilgrimage brought us together and will remain an important part of our lives, so we hope all our pilgrim friendships will run on and on into the future.

Love and prayers,

John & Louise


Margaret Nicholls has a new permanent job since the start of the year. She is now Management Accountant at DRA (Defence Research Agency) in Farnborough dealing with satellite and radar communications. She says there are lots of government boffins!!

Jennifer and Ron Smith spotted honeymooners in Tobermory, Isle of Mull in October. The Honeymooners, Stephen Taylor and Gillian Trew who were married in Iona Abbey Church on 30th September. All had a short chat together in the glorious autumn sunshine. Jennifer and Ron were visiting Mull and Iona with ‘Pilgrim Adventure’.

Edna Davies thanks all the pilgrims for then kindness and support. She also appreciates the lovely verse which she was given. She will treasure it always. it is wonderful to be a pilgrim!!


During the past few months that Pilgrimage Organising Team has been looking at supplementing the existing pilgrimage Hymn books. We still plan to use the existing three volumes of Songs of the Spirit, but in addition, we’ve decided to compile our own pilgrimage hymn book to include the newer music we have been using during recent pilgrimages.

Do you have any suggestions for contemporary hymns that you would like to see included? If so, send your suggestions, by the end of March to Andy Ollard, 11 Wingate Circle, Walton Park, MILTON KEYNES, MK7 7HS. We can’t promise to include everything suggested but will considered all suggestions. We shall need to obtain permission from the copyright owners of the material we use amid this may take time, so please send all your suggestions by 31st March.


During the past year mailing for the Pilgrims below has been returned by Royal Mail marked ‘Addressee has gone away’. If you know the current whereabouts of any of the pilgrims listed please let us know their new address so that we may continue to inform them of pilgrimage events:

Terry Billingham (Canterbury 2, St Wilfred’s, Birihday, Wa!singharn 2) formally of East Grinstead, West Sussex

Frances Bonetti and Lisa (Wessex) formally of Bolney, West Sussex

Gwendoline Dorrington [Sr Bruno] (Canterbury 1, Buck/ast 2) formally of Broadwindsor, Beaminster, Dorset

John McHugo (Glastonbury 1, Canterbury 2) formally of Croydon, Surrey

Kate O’Donoghue (Lindisfarne, Birthday, Wessex) formally of Kilndown, Cranbrook, Kent

Neil Peters (Buckfast 2, Evesham) formally of Grove Park Gardens, Chiswick, London

F M Reidy (St. Richard’s 2), formally of  Storrington, West Sussex

Mr C. Wilson (St Richard’s 2) formally of St Richard’s School, Hereford

Please send all correct addresses to Diocese of Arundel & Brighton Ecumenical Walking Pilgrimages, The Christian Education Centre, 4 Southgate Drive, CRAWLEY, West Sussex, RH10 6RP.