Pat Heffernan, yours truly and David Hemblade arriving at Buckfast Abbey, wet, tired, but triumphantly happy.

He who would valiant be,

Against all disaster.

Let him in constancy,

Follow the Master.

There’s no discouragement,

Shall make him once relent,

His first avowed intent,

To be a pilgrim.


Who so beset him round,

With dismal stories,

Do but themselves confound,

His strength the more is.

No foe shall stay his might,

Though he with giants fight,

He will make good his right,

To be a pilgrim.


Since Lord thou dost defend,

Us with thy Spirit,

We know we at the end,

Shall life inherit.

Then fancies flee away,

I’ll fear not what men say,

I’ll labour night and day,

To be a pilgrim.

Dear Pilgrims

This years pilgrimage started off with a bang…literally. Lesley Hill’s car, that was going to be used for the caterers, received an unwelcome addition to its rear boot… the car behind. No one was hurt but the car was a write off... an over the hill car perhaps?

The result of this on the way to picking up Frances Dean our beloved head gourmet chef was that John Russell, who was also in the car, arrived late to pick up the van from Frances’       and what was in the van?   How about the arrows, pins, blue tack, hymn books, pilgrim crosses… so, valiant against all disaster, we started as a group from the registration point to the Cathedral arrowless and with no hymn books or crosses for the Ecumenical service therein. Well, with the resilience of pilgrims who’ve seen it all before, Lesley got another car from her insurance company, John got the van to Winchester and runners brought over hymn books and crosses as the service progressed and so “all manner of things ended up Well” (ref Julian of Norwich).

The next near disaster was Fr. Rob falling out of his tree…  you’d think he’d know better. Rob found a rope swing and in typical pilgrim fashion decided to go for it. Whilst in full flight, the stick in the bottom of the rope that Rob was holding decided to break under the forces exerted by the quite considerable theological appendage attached A very winded, bruised and probably wiser Fr. Rob got up counting his blessings that the ground he had landed on had at least been soft. The stick however is no more.

Our ever faithful Safety Officer and general Mr. Fix it Simon Donovan, had to return home with a suspected hernia, but being Simon he somehow fixed that as well and came back as soon as he could, to keep Frances and Lesley in order. Terry Dobson, the man who likes to wear a pinny, managed on the celebration day to go for an unscheduled whoops on some wet grass and broke his wrist. Gymnastics at your age Terry, stick to the kitchen with Frances  its marginally safer!

The pilgrimage, in spite of the above prangs, bumps and thumps, was an excellent success. There were numerous highlights that spring to mind, Joseph and Marrietta Bonnici, who met on the Hereford pilgrimage, celebrated their first wedding anniversary with us, a smiling young Lauren passing around her surprise birthday cake at Exmouth (one of the halls that could take families). Fran Phillips has written an article for this Newsletter about her impressions of her first pilgrimage so you can read more about what happened there. Monica McLauchlan has also written about the “Art of Pilgrimage”, an article which I believe should be appearing in tile A & B News, and watch out, she has purchased a computer to keep tabs on wayward pilgrims using alternative transport.

The Reunion: Check out the enclosed Reunion Application form. There will be a live band for the barn dance on the Saturday evening! It is open to all pilgrims from any year and anyone you think may be interested in next years walk. Make the effort; it will be great to see you again!

Where to next year? The plan is to celebrate the coming to England of St. Augustine of Canterbury 1400 years ago. Our initial research has uncovered that he worked hard for the unification of the Celtic Church with Rome so as to combine efforts to convert the pagan Saxons. Unfortunately, the Celtic Church which had been separated from Rome by the collapse of the Roman Empire for over 100 years, did not like the idea of having to convert the lot that had just vanquished them from their own lands and as a consequence a great opportunity was missed Possible food for thought 1400 years later? The probable theme for next year will be Christian Unity, looking at the opportunities that are missed today because of our divisions.

The Route: This is only provisional at the moment because we have not as yet had time to find all the hails.





Sat 9th August

Chichester to Arundel


Sun 10th August

Arundel to Upper Beeding


Mon 11th August

Upper Beeding to Lewes


Tue 12th August

Lewes to Eastbourne


Wed 13th August

Eastbourne Rest Day    (beware weaver fish, I told you I’d be back)


Thur 14th August

Eastbourne to St. Leonard’s


Fri 15th August

St. Leonard’s to Rye


Sat 16th August

Rye to Dymchurch


Sun 17th August

Dymchurch to Hythe


Mon 18th August

Hythe to Dover


Tue 19th August

Day trip to France        (Need Passports)


Wed 20th August

Dover to Sandwich


Thur 21st August

Sandwich to ????         (To be arranged)


Fri 22nd August

????? to Canterbury


Sat 23rd August

Canterbury celebration day


Sun 24th August

Journey Home

These dates may help you with some advanced planning of holiday entitlements at work. (Note we’ve got in our advert for a holiday before Thompson, Sunseekers etc. who advertise at Christmas!)

So why do people go on pilgrimages?

Some are seeking inspiration.

Some desire a new perspective, a change of mind.

Some are studying various spiritual paths (and foot paths).

Some are seeking to reverse the destruction of life on the planet.

Some are learning methods of meditation.

Some are deeply questioning their life’s purpose.

Some are committed to the idea and practice of pilgrimage.

Some are purifying their hearts: confusion giving way to clarity.

Some don’t know why they are making a pilgrimage, but are following their feelings and intuition.

Some want the time and setting to concentrate on a particular subject.

Some are doing penance.

Some are helpers, cooks, drivers, etc., or are accompanying another on his or her pilgrimage.

Some want to be in harmony with the natural world.

Some want the exercise of walking on the hills.

Some are curious or wish to observe.

Some need to get away for the day.

Some are spiritual adventures, or just like to be on the road.

Some want to calm their minds and find peace.

Some are singers and writers looking for something to sing or write about.

Some are following the “Good Beer Guide”.

And some are doing it for a bet of 10 pints! (Julian)

Supplied by Danny Thomas

Matthew Furse anchored at Lyme Regis


The Diocesan Ecumenical Walking Pilgrimage uses many forms of art. Among them are the art of:

CARPENTRY Every year we wear crosses designed to reflect our theme. This year from Winchester to Buckfast we contemplated being “Fishers of Men” and how the cross is the anchor of our faith. When this years cross was inverted it resembled an anchor and a cut out in the middle was in the shape of a fish.

SPIRITUAL DIRECTION Expanding our theme along with the daily Mass readings.

ECUMENISM Beginning with the service in Winchester Cathedral we stopped for prayers in more than 40 churches across four denominations.

CATERING Our team produced wonderful meals in often cramped or inadequate kitchens.

ORGANISATION By the van driver to get all the luggage and equipment packed safely.

DISTRIBUTION At drink stops, streamlining the dispensing of cups, filling them and finding a convenient place to hang the rubbish bag!

LOGISTICS As bed spaces are claimed.

INFLATION Pumping up air beds without them exploding... (Marie)

ROUTE PLANNING How to get across the hall at night avoiding pilgrims and furniture.

MUSIC Accompanying our hymn singing and leading the evening entertainment in local hostelries.

CONVERSATION Practiced frequently!!

INTERPRETATION Pilgrims managed to follow our arrows but some had difficulty with other signs and symbols!!

PERSUASION Needed to get tender feet into boots

PROPULSION A must to get stiff muscles moving.

HOSPITALITY Some of the churches we visited gave us cold drinks or tea and the use of their facilities.

DECORATION At Highcliffe castle they had balloons and posters out to greet us and explain to others who we were etc.

LEARNING CHURCH HISTORY Many of the stops were of historic interest especially Lulworth castle, Chideock and Ugbrooke House.

HUMILITY Accepting help graciously.

MANOEUVRING Over stiles, fences, gates and through hedges, nettles and brambles.

DESIGN Building a sand abbey on Bourne mouth beach which a passing child thought was a car park!

DISPLAY In Lyme Regis many pilgrims hung their laundered T-shirts, shorts and socks on the fencing… well the hall was in a Pay and Display Car Park!!

AIDING THE LOCAL ECONOMY By visiting village stores, inns and cafes.

THE PERFECT EXCUSE Many cream teas were enjoyed.

All of this led us to Buckfast and the ART OF CELEBRATION.

This article was produced with the ART OF COLLABORATION Monica McLauchlan

News Received from the Pilgrimage family:

As we were coming to the end of this years pilgrimage we received the news that Fern White, who had been ill for some time, had finished her life’s pilgrimage. A Mass was said for Fern at Ugbrooke and we all send our sympathy, condolences love and prayers to her husband John.

On the 8th of June Martyn Thornton (the infamous pongo who was often seen scrambling through bushes on the Glastonbury pilgrimage in 1991,) and his wife Vicki baptised their son Harry into the Christian family. Can he talk as fast as you yet Martyn?


This years Ecumenical Walking Pilgrimage took us to Buckfast Abbey set in the beautiful valley of the river Dart on the edge of Dartmoor.

The first momentous occasion, uniting, sharing and witnessing our love of Jesus Christ began at Winchester Cathedral. Our theme “Fishers of Men” was symbolised in the cross each pilgrim was presented with, to wear with pride, bearing witness to our love and devotion to our faith.

This was my first pilgrimage and I soon felt part of the family. Throughout the two weeks I became overwhelmed by the deep sense of belonging. What a wonderful opportunity to renew and enrich my faith. The privilege of taking part in daily Mass, visiting many beautiful old Churches proved to have a many fold purpose… a welcome respite for weary pilgrims, an opportunity to share our prayers, thoughts, experiences, shelter from the heat of the sun and thankfully only the occasional torrential downpour. Oh blisters, a time to check those too.

We were blessed with glorious weather, only three days rain in all. Thank God! The trek through the New Forest was definitely a penance! If it had not been for my over worked Rosary beads, the good humour, support from my fellow pilgrims, and last but not least my guardian angel, I don’t think I would have reached it to Sway. After a very welcome cup of tea, a delicious hot meal and a good nights sleep, I lived to waddle another day. “God is Good”

From Sway to Bournemouth: interesting to say the least, perhaps the less said the better about our walk along the beach to Bournemouth. Our Mass with Father Rob and Fr. Bill at Southbourne was a moving experience.

First Rest Day: accommodation superb, weather brilliant, Abbey Building on the beach, these pilgrims don’t do anything by halves! In the days the followed, we became closer as we worshipped and shared together our community life, our differences forgotten apart from when we attended Mass. Our journey of witness continued up and down the spectacular Isle of Purbeck to Corfe Castle and Lulworth. Mass in Lulworth Castle Chapel on the feast of Our Lady’s Assumption… unforgettable! How can we forget that amazing elderly lady, her faith, her enthusiasm when we all sang Jerusalem! Not a dry eye in the house! Onward and upward, downward and some more. The heat, the sun, spectacular, unbelievable views, what an experience, what a challenge, one beautiful spiritually uplifting day melted into the next, Hardy’s monument, Golden Cap, Lyme Regis and rest day 2   “Oh where Oh where have all the Launderettes gone?!?!” was the pilgrims cry/prayer. The more resourceful pilgrims opted for D.I.Y. washing and the rest of us (including me) opted for the one and only Launderette! Airing our laundry in public became the order of the day! Some clouds on the horizon… down came the rain, but it didn’t cool our fervour, our spirits still uplifted, have you ever noticed how many hymns/songs have rain in the title? “Our God Reigns” we sang as we dripped through our prayer stop at Mamhead Chapel!

Day 14 and onto Buckfast... our final destination. Scenic is an understatement, Dartmoor was spectacular, reaching the Commandment Stones at the summit a pilgrims voice shouted out above the howl of the wind “Praise the Lord!” everyone’s sentiment. What a truly wondrous sight, then down, down the wandering path into Buckfast, a welcome sight at the end of our unforgettable journey.

As we processed into the Abbey for our evening Mass we chanted “Jubilate Deo”, there, the highlight for me of the whole pilgrimage, the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament exploded with happiness and love, we were one with Our Saviour.

One Bread, One Body, One Lord of all.

Thank you for the experience of a lifetime to everyone who made it possible.

Will I do it again.... Yes! Yes! Yes! Please God.

by Fran Phillips

News in the organising team:

Gillian has shifted from Bookings Secretary into Alan Fox’s role as General Secretary, Louise Chenery has taken on the difficult task of being the Bookings Secretary (so John you have no excuses for booking in late this year!). There is a Russell consortium taking over the Church liaison team, Monica and Mary have promised to be an effective double act, so look out pagans. There looks like there is another double act forming in the van driving front, John Russell and Paul Greysmark are working out van size/types for next year as concerns were expressed that luggage was exceeding van capacity this year! Good halls and pubs are on the cards for next year as Danny Thomas is already out there checking out suitable accommodation (Edith… check your own tent space!) and hair bear is researching the good beer guide for organising the routeplanners. Monica McLauchlan is organising the nations transport network on her new computer, Rosemary Southon’s shining up her cups for the drinks stop car and Mary Fuller as medical officer is getting her bandages ready for when the whole lot collides! Frances Dean and Lesley Hill.... if they aren’t caught in the crossfire of Monica’s transport master plan should be driving an unsmashed catering car. Talking of caterers, Julian Martin will be cooking the books as treasurer for another year. Fran Phillips has agreed to be our Sarnie Queen because she’s good at buttering people up. As for me… I’m planning to have a nervous breakdown and come as a teapot next year!

Love and Prayers

Patrick Reeve


PS Mike Kanssen is kindly taking over from Andy Ollard as News Editor so please write any news in future to:

Mike Kanssen

OR Patrick Reeve

OR Fr. Bill Haynes