After starting out in April 2016, the Balham President’s ‘Pilgrims’ finally arrived in Canterbury on 27 May 2017, after 120 miles completed in twelve stages over the year. Initially planned by the then President, Steve Palmer, as his own objective he received strong support from Circle Brothers, with never fewer than five on a stage and often more.
Overall, eight different Brothers did at least one stage, and Pilgrim’s also included family members and three dogs. He was particular pleased that with the ecumenical nature of the enterprise represented in the support from other traditions. The last seven mile stage into Canterbury was a joyous affair in glorious sunshine.
Stopping to sing ‘To Be a Pilgrim’ at the City boundary, the walkers then met some of the wives at St Dunstan’s Church, a traditional stopping point for early pilgrims, for a prayer of thanksgiving and a rousing rendition of Guide Me O Thou Great Redeemer. After that, the full group proceeded to evensong at the Cathedral, where they were graciously welcomed by the Dean who gave a moving blessing.
A well deserved pint or two and an excellent dinner brought the day to a close. There was a unanimous feeling that these walks should continue, although everyone agreed that nothing could equal the final few yards into the cathedral with the bells ringing out above. Ever since the world somehow seems a different place. SP