1,100 Mile Pilgrim Cycle Ride
Anne Yates, one of our fantastic supporters undertook an incredible 1,100 mile cycle pilgrimage earlier on this year from Land’s End to John O’Groats. In doing so she has raised vital funds to help us with our work. Here is her story.
Six years ago my friend Jennifer and I cycled to Santiago de Compostela. This year we completed another cycling pilgrimage – Land’s End to John O’Groats.
Jennifer was raising funds for the roof of Perth Cathedral. The Cathedral Provost had contacted churches on our route for offers of hospitality and organised twelve of our overnight stops. At the end of a hard day’s cycling I’m someone who prefers to quietly recover, so I wasn’t looking forward to obligatory socialising with these hosts, however well-meaning and generous they might be. God however had some surprises for me. It turned out that these hosts provided many of the highlights of the journey
To give two examples:
Sue was a delightful lady who used to run a B&B and had been an enthusiastic cyclist. Although she was very keen to host us, mental illness meant that she wasn’t able to cope with the practicalities of our visit. However, her church community rallied round. As we arrived, the vicar was making tea. Next morning he was helping with breakfast. Parishioners had made the beds and done the shopping. Our hearts were touched by such loving care, enabling Sue to have a sense of real achievement.
During a stunning cycle ride along Wenlock Edge, Shropshire in brilliant sunshine we reached Much Wenlock. Gill had arranged to meet us at Holy Trinity church and give us lunch before we cycled the remaining 15 miles. Anxious to complete the day’s ride, I wasn’t looking forward to unnecessary midday socialising. God however had a treat in store. Gill was in her late 70s, widowed and a member of her Pastoral Team. A person full of love and radiant joy, she shared her faith with us in such a natural way. I left there with the clear message to trust more in the leading of the Holy Spirit and God's direction for each day.
There can be stresses and strains even between the best of friends, especially when tired, but Jennifer and I found that saying a Pilgrim prayer together each morning really helped. Any resentments had to be sorted out beforehand!
I looked on the pilgrimage as providing a challenge, and allowing time to be more open to God's direction for the future. The simplicity of a journey like this helps me to be more receptive. The journey also provided an opportunity to raise funds for Alabaré, a Christian charity based in Salisbury. Alabaré supports vulnerable, homeless and marginalised people and helps them to transform their lives. Thank you so much to all those who donated so generously and helped me to raise £3,500.
I have returned to my home, family and church, thankful for having been kept safe, and for all the kindness and generosity received from so many on our journey. I have no doubt that all the prayer support from Jennifer's church and from the churches of Marlborough contributed to making our journey such a rich experience.
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