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The 21st Annual Bishop’s Walk takes to the hills … …

Madeleine Thomas, from the staff of St Wilfrid’s, reports on the events of this anniversary walk.

  St Wilfrid’s Centre was immensely privileged to be joined by both Bishop Ralph and Emeritus Bishop John for the 21st Bishop’s Walk on 21 September.  The group of walkers drawn from our community included Barlborough Hall School, All Saints Catholic High School, Notre Dame Catholic High School, St Marie’s Catholic Primary School, Fr Chris Posluszny, St Marie’s Cathedral, Centre staff, clients, volunteers and long term supporters.

Bishop’s Walk 2019

  Ranging in age from 10 years old, up to mid-80s (we can’t possibly say who), the group of 25 walkers enjoyed a stunning full day of walking in the Peak District, starting and completing the 21km route at St Michael the Archangel Church, Hathersage.

  The ‘Indian Summer’ heat did take its toll on some of the party; Molly, Bishop Ralph’s dog, refused to walk after the morning coffee stop and took to the Centre’s minibus for a lift to the lunch stop in Hope.  Another member was overcome by the heat but appreciated the support and camaraderie of fellow walkers.  Buoyed up on jelly babies and willing helpers to carry her bag, we are delighted to report she completed the challenge.

Bishop John

  Bishop John described the walk as ‘a glorious day in every way.’

  A special mention is extended to Fr Don Stoker, a long-time supporter of the Centre, who was unable to join the party on the day but truly showed his dedication as he undertook and completed the route the week before.  He said, “I want to congratulate you for the lovely route, I thought I knew the Hope Valley pretty well but the views from the footpaths along the Derwent were magnificent.”

  We would like to thank everyone who has generously supported the Bishop’s Walk and helped raise funds for St Wilfrid’s Centre.  The money raised will go directly to fund our Rough Sleeper Service.  Part of our Welfare Team’s work is to provide immediate welfare support for Rough Sleepers (food, showers and access to laundry facilities) and longer term one to one tailored support, signposting clients to the relevant social support agencies, accommodation and employment.  Recently the Welfare Team were able to recommend and secure a rough sleeper, Simon* employment in a local café.  This together with on-going support from the Centre has enabled him to get back on his feet and break the cycle of sleeping on the streets.  Please help us continue working with people like Simon and donate via www.stwilfridscentre.org or via Just Giving.

  Next year, the Bishop’s Walk will be returning but it will be looking a little different, so watch this space!

* Name has been changed to protect our client’s identity.