The St Hilda’s Pilgrimage 2019

Saturday 10th – Sunday 25th August 2019

It was agreed at the recent AGM that our Pilgrimage for 2019 will start at Lincoln Cathedral with our final destination being St Hilda’s Abbey, Whitby in North Yorkshire. It is envisaged that the route will include Hull, Beverley Minster, and Bridlington Priory.

Committee Members are now working on the route and booking accommodation. A list of daily destinations will be available at the forthcoming Reunion Weekend on the 26th October and will be posted on the website. Further updates and a short history of St Hilda will be posted shortly.

Talking of the reunion, don’t forget to book! I will add the booking form to the reunion link as soon as possible

Pilgrimage over, it’s time for the AGM

I hope everyone got back safely from Buckfast and all have recovered from the walking. “Strenuous” was one description of this year’s route; strenuous yes, climbing on to the army ranges from the shore on Mark and Danny’s day, and negotiating the ups and downs and steps of Goat Island come to mind, but magnificent as well. The sound of the sea in the secluded bays, Durdle Door, and crossing the Exe estuary on the ferry. The strange sensation of walking among streets with traffic in Ashburton after so long being on paths where cars can not follow.

This Sunday 16th September our AGM takes place at St Joseph’s, Ladbroke Road, Redhill at 3.00 pm until 6.00 pm.We will be reviewing this year’s pilgrimage and discussing our plans for next year. All pilgrims are welcome to attend the AGM and contribute to the discussion.


Gill Henderson’s Funeral

For those who’ve missed the update I posted against the original post on the website…

Gill’s funeral will be held at St Peter’s Church, Portland Road, Hove at 12 noon on Thursday 13th September, followed by burial at the cemetery in Old Shoreham Road, Hove. Father Jerry will officiate.

After the burial, Gill’s daughter Caroline is arranging some refreshments at her house, so people are welcome to come back afterwards. I won’t post the address online for obvious reasons, but can provide it  on request.

Gill Henderson, RIP. [Updated with funeral details]

This morning we have received the sad news that Gill Henderson, one of our oldest pilgrims, died at 19:30 yesterday. Gill and her husband Derek first walked with us in the mid 2000s, and after Derek’s death Gill continued to join us each year.

Gill was an inspiration to us all. I remember a prayer stop several years ago where she gave a moving reflection, talking about life in Italy at the end of WWII, when the treatment of supposed collaborators was potentially worse than anything suffered during the war. I’m sure others will have their own memories to share.

May she rest in peace, and our condolences to her family.


Gill’s funeral will be held at St Peter’s Church, Portland Road, Hove at 12 noon on Thursday 13th September, followed by burial at the cemetery in Old Shoreham Road, Hove. Father Jerry will officiate.

Buckfast Pilgrimage 2018 – nearly ready for the off!

The start of the Buckfast Pilgrimage is under 2 weeks away, and the team have been working hard to finalise arrangements so that we can share them with participants and the wider community.

Rather than wait until every t is crossed and i dotted we’ve decided to release some of the details in “final draft” form. Final versions will be posted as soon as possible, and the key details are unlikely to change.


Pat Donachie’s Funeral: Report

30 pilgrims were amongst a packed congregation at St Joseph’s Redhill last week.  Some pilgrims joined the choir and two were wearing pilgrimage tee-shirts.  The tribute, read by Pat’s daughter Rachel, mentioned the love and sense of community that Pat found in, and brought to, walking pilgrimages.  I attach the photo from the front of the order of service.

John Chenery

Pat Donachie’s Funeral Arrangements

Pat and Keith’s daughter Andrea writes:

For all those who would like to attend, Mum’s funeral will be at 10am on Thursday 19th April at St. Joseph’s Church, Redhill. We will just be having family flowers, but if you would like to make a donation to the Alzheimer’s Society, we have set up a JustGiving page.

There will be refreshments available afterwards (the family will go to the crematorium and return for a drink and a toast to Mum’s life).

Mum was a bright and colourful lady, so please don’t feel you need to wear black.

On the JustGiving page the family share:

On Wednesday 28th March 2018, our lives were changed forever with the loss of our beautiful Mum, Pat Donachie.

Mum had suffered with Alzheimer’s, which is a disease that impacts not only the individual, but the family who love and support them. It’s incredibly tough watching someone succumb to the devastating consequences of this disease: the loss of their memories, their confidence, their physical strength and their understanding of the world around them.

Our amazing Dad was Mum’s carer – this isn’t something you train for, or prepare for – Dad did it because he loved her through and through. And he was brilliant. But it was also hard.

With support from the Alzheimer’s Society, Dad received advice, information and accessed local services that gave both him and Mum a safe and fun place to be – Mum never stopped being the smiling, social butterfly she always was.

We want to ensure that other families, who will be touched by Alzheimer’s, have local support services that will give them the understanding they need.

Funds are being cut, and as the population increases, the prevalance of Alzheimer’s in the community will rise. We really need to create better services – everyone deserves them.

If you would like to help us raise money in Mum’s memory and to support other families with access to this wonderful network of support, then donating through JustGiving is simple, fast and totally secure.

Your details are safe with JustGiving – they’ll never sell them on or send unwanted emails. Once you donate, they’ll send your money directly to the charity. So it’s the most efficient way to donate – saving time and cutting costs for the charity.

Thank you, with love from Rachel, Andrea, David, Keith and most importantly, Mum xxxxx

 Support their cause through this link

Pat Donachie RIP

It is my sad task to report that another pilgrim has reached the end of their journey on this earth: Pat Donachie, with her husband Keith, was a regular from 1988 until 2011, and was much loved by us all.
On Thursday 29th Pat and Keith’s daughter Rachel posted on Facebook:

Yesterday, heaven claimed another of its finest souls. Proper Yorkshire through and through, our amazing Mum fought through illness right until the end. This photo was taken last summer – I love how she’s in front of all of us; smiling, enjoying every minute of being with the family she adored. She gave so much of her life to caring for others and set a life-long example to the rest of us. I’d like to think that the crazy weather and skies yesterday was Mum’s way of shaking things up as she joined all the other precious people up there in that ‘party in the sky’. Mum, the enormity of our loss is unfathomable, the gratefulness for the life you had and the love you gave is eternal ❤

I’m sure Danny won’t mind me sharing this happy picture of Pat with Keith on the pilgrimage:

Maurice broke the news on Facebook on Thursday evening and in the many comments the terms “lovely lady”, “good friend” and “she’ll be missed” recur. Pat was a true pilgrim, though the last few years had been hard for her; we pray that she is now at peace, and for Keith and all their family.

I will try to find some historic photos of Pat – if you have any please pass them to me and I will share on this page.

My personal memory of Pat is from the first day of the 2008 Salisbury Pilgrimage, when Pat got stuck in some very deep mud and we both got rather grubby extricating her. Memorable because Pat wasn’t normally one to be the centre of a drama – I remember her for her concern for everyone else’s wellbeing.

The earliest picture of Pat and Keith on the pilgrimage – 1988 at Annecy Achool, Seaford

Rest in peace, Pat.

The Route to Buckfast

Following on from Francis’ “Coordinator’s Article” and the release of the poster and booking form,  here is the “Chief Route Planner’s Column”.

The hall in Kenton has been confirmed, so the route shown at the bottom of the poster is the confirmed route.  The result of some thoughtful debate at the September AGM, I believe the route chosen  is a pleasing mixture of old and new.  The middle section is largely as it was on the 1982 and 1996 Buckfast Pilgrimages, a walk along  or close to the glorious Jurassic coast of Dorset and Devon, featuring Lulworth Cove and Golden Cap.  The route from Kenton to Buckfast is new: instead of heading inland at that point as previously, we only do so after taking in a further section of coastpath, all the way to the outskirts of Torquay.  This will include Dawlish where the Great Western mainline runs right along the sea wall and we have seen on the news how it gets damaged by exceptional storms.  The pilgrimage starts in Salisbury and avoids Bournemouth so that the first rest day is in Wareham and we only hit the coast after that.

It is interesting to look at the routes of the three previous pilgrimages to see how distances have shortened over the year.  In 1980, the 6th pilgrimage ever started in Arundel and went to Buckfast – a walk of 251 miles in 13 walking days (an average of over 19 miles per day).  The monks invited us back for their celebrations in 1982 of the centenary of the rebuilding of the abbey (it was originally completed in 1018 but demolished at the reformation).  Again the pilgrimage started in Arundel.  A ferry across Southampton Water provided a short cut this time but there were still several days over 20 miles long, up to 26.5 miles!  By 1996 the pilgrims were becoming less tough.  The route was shortened by starting in Winchester, but there was still one day of 22 miles and several just under 20 miles.  These days we aim to average 15 miles and never exceed 18 miles and by starting in Salisbury, I think we can just about deliver that!

John Chenery, chief route planner