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

The Buckfast Millennium Pilgrimage

All the halls have now been booked with the exception of Exmouth on Wednesday 22/08/2018 where we are hoping to switch to Kenton and should be in place shortly. Our thanks go out to Chris Nussbaum, Clare Neal, Suzy Duffy-all new to hall booking-and Sue Adilz for their sterling work.

The route planners for each day’s walk have chosen their day and John Chenery is waiting to receive the results of their walkouts. Peter Whipps has asked planners to submit any information they find out about local transport connections that non walkers could use on their days. Likewise any information on churches on route will be appreciated by our church liaison team, Ann Lavelle on week one and Susan McCabe on the second week.

Arrangements are in place for our first day in Salisbury. Registration will be in St Paul’s church foyer and the induction service will be at the Trinity chapel in the cathedral. Clare Gamble has produced the poster and application form and they will soon are now on the website.

Ceri Potts has bravely come forward to take charge of the catering arrangements for the second week. Ceri will take charge of the evening meal while yours truly will look after the breakfasts.

Mary Fuller has informed me that Gill Henderson our senior walking pilgrim is receiving treatment for liver cancer and asks that we remember her in our prayers. She is currently staying with her daughter in Brighton. Let us hope she makes a speedy recovery and can join us for some at any rate of this year’s pilgrimage.

Francis O’Sullivan

Fr Peter Madden RIP

As we prepare to welcome Fr Peter’s body into his church at Dover ahead of his funeral tomorrow, I thought I should dig into the archives for some memories of the times Peter walked with us.

Fr Peter with Bill Haynes’ mum Madge, walking through the hopfields into Canterbury, 1976.

Fr Peter with Dominic O’Hara (now Fr Dominic) in Arundel Park setting out for Walsingham in 1977.

Fr Peter with Anne Coleman one lunchtime closer to Walsingham

Fr Peter contemplating another beer at Bosham as we set out for Glastonbury in 1978.

Fr Peter with Susan McCabe (Nee Martin) at Quarr Abbey, also 1978.

Have all those pub stops caught up with him? Fr Peter resting before ascending Glastonbury Tor.

Ten years later, Fr Peter welcomes us to Kent (and to his Southwark Diocese) as we make our 3rd Canterbury Pilgrimage.

Nearer to Canterbury, Fr Peter is walking with us.

(All photos by Bill Haynes RIP)

Father Peter Madden RIP

Peter Madden walked with us on some of our earliest pilgrimages, and remained good friends with several pilgrims for the following decades.

From the Southwark Diocesan website:

Please pray for the repose of the soul of Father Peter Madden who died on Saturday 16th December 2017

May he rest in peace

Funeral arrangements:

St Paul’s Catholic Church, Dover (CT16 1RU)

Reception of Body into the Church
Sunday 21st January 2018, prior to a Parish Mass at 5pm

Funeral Mass
St Paul’s Roman Catholic Church Dover (CT16 1RU)
Monday 22nd January 12noon

Update 2 Jan 18

Archbishop Peter Smith will preside at The Funeral Mass on Monday 22nd at Midday. Fr Peter asked to be buried in Canterbury City Cemetery, Westgate Court Avenue, Canterbury CT2 8JL. We estimate the cortege will arrive there at 2.15. Fr. Peter was very keen on everyone, all of you and ministers and people from other churches, being invited to a reception in Dover Town Hall. A hot meal will be served, for those not going to the cemetery, from 1.45 and then again at about 3.30 for those who travelled to Canterbury. If you are not going to go to the cemetery please consider going along to the first sitting to welcome Fr Peter’s guests and clerical friends.