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Bishops 90-mile Pilgrimage finishes

Monday 18th March 2019

Bishops 90-mile Pilgrimage finishes

Bishops Martin and Mike have completed their Pilgrimage, having walked 90-miles from Southwold to Stowmarket and met school children, visited flourishing industries, prayed at village churches and chatted with farmers and other people enjoying and working in the countryside.

Each day started and finished with prayers and included visits to the Norfolk and Suffolk Aviation Museum, Flixton; Wyken Vineyard; Pakenham Water Mill; Designs on Metal, Stowlangtoft, and chatting with locals at Hoxne, at the Blue Boar, Walsham le Willows, and the Pykkerell Inn, Ixworth.

Last week they attended Mass with Eye Primary School and visited Walsham-le-Willows Primary School. The children were keen to hear about the bishops’ 90-mile walk in ten days from Southwold to Stowmarket. Bishop Martin said: "The children wanted to understand where we had been, who we had met and find out more about the places we had visited.  They also wanted to know where we stayed each night and whether we were sleeping in a tent!"  

Bishop Mike added: "Of course they were also keen to know what food and drink we had taken to sustain us during the pilgrimage – and whether we had any blisters!"

A diverse mix of businesses and community enterprises have also welcomed the bishops including a local pottery where they were invited to have a go at a potter’s wheel and throw a pot, and sampling the local wines at Wyken vineyard. Earlier, they had spent time with inspirational programmes for people with learning disabilities at Thornham Walks and Street Forge Workshops.

"We are always struck by the passion and commitment with which people are using their gifts and skills to provide high quality services for people in Suffolk and further afield.  Once again, this year’s pilgrimage unearthed real talent in the countryside" said Bishop Martin. “For the third consecutive year Bishop Mike and myself walked together in our Lent Pilgrimage. We wanted to meet new and different audiences while providing access to ourselves which helps to enrich our understanding of what it is like for those living and working in Suffolk today.Yet again we found men, women, boys and girls of all ages wanting to walk by our side and chat about their lives. We found this humbling in that they wanted to share their trials and tribulations, their joys and disappointments with us. It was indeed a privilege for us to be part of their day and to be part of their memories as we held wide-ranging discussions".

Their pilgrimage finished at Stowmarket’s Museum of East Anglian Life on March 15 where Bishop Mike said: “It was totally appropriate that we should end our pilgrimage here, among a mixture of exhibits documenting agricultural history through the ages. Our pilgrimage took us through country lanes and farmers’ fields and, as we met the Suffolk farmers of today, we were given a greater understanding of all that has gone before to make our county what it is today”.

Pictures and videos are available here.

Picture Caption: Bishops Mike and Martin get a sneak preview of the ‘Vision mosaic’ at Walsham-le-Willows CEVC Primary School, with headteacher Angela Hunter, pupils Tommy Jenkins and Harry Swallow whose designs were used to create the mosaic, and governor Di Barker. Photo Keith Mindham Photography.