Big Walkers put their best feet forward for CAFOD

Twelve intrepid walkers are setting out on a 135-mile trek to commemorate two CAFOD anniversaries. The group will walk from Durham to Holy Island over nine days in July to commemorate the 50th anniversary of CAFOD’s foundation and the 25th anniversary of the first CAFOD office in the North East. And the group includes two guests from Brazil and one from Kenya.

The Big Walk will take place from July 1 to 9, starting at the door of Durham Cathedral and finishing at the end of the Pilgrims’ Way on Holy Island. In between the walkers will pass through Langley Park, Lanchester, Consett, Minsteracres, Hexham and, from Heavenfield, they follow the path of St Oswald’s way through Rothbury, Felton, Amble, Alnmouth, Beadnel, and Belford to reach the start of the Pilgrims’ Way at noon on July 9.

The group will join parishioners from the four dioceses of Hexham & Newcastle, Middlesbrough, Leeds and Hallam at 12.30 on July 9 to walk across the Pilgrims way and for Mass with Bishop Seamus Cunningham at 4pm by the statue of St Aidan.

The CAFOD offices in Middlesbrough, Leeds and Hallam dioceses are also organising walks in their own areas and participants will then come to Holy Island to join in the celebration on July 9.

The two visitors from Brazil are Heluíza Soares da Silva and Josefa Vieira dos Santos (Zeza), both of whom work with homeless people in Sao Paulo. They will be visiting South Tyneside Churches Together’s homeless scheme The Key Project, as well as schools and parishes to talk about their work and help promote the CAFOD scheme Connect2 which links communities in this country with communities in six countries around the world, including Brazil. The first visit is to St Godric’s School, next door to CAFOD’s new office in Framwellgate Moor.

Also walking is Andrew Achiba, a Newcastle University student from Kenya. The Great Northern Trek – a popular campaign to get 500 miles of road tarmacked – began in Andrew’s home town of Marsabit in northern Kenya and was one of the inspirations behind CAFOD’s Big Walk.

CAFOD Diocesan manager, Anne-Marie Hanlon said: “We wanted something special for the two anniversaries and it had to be something people could join in. We’ve been delighted with the support so far, and we’re expecting a good turn out as we reach the start of Pilgrims’ Way on July 9.”

Anyone interested in sponsoring the Big Walkers can do so at: or by downloading sponsor forms from the CAFOD website at To join the walk for a day or a session along the way or at the final walk across the Pilgrims’ Way, email or call 0191 384 48 47.

Thanks to SOS Ltd, of Team Valley, Gateshead for sponsoring our minibus!

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