Sixteen people registered for the 12mile stage 4 walk across Central Beds. This time the walk was from Sacred Heart Flitwick to Sacred Heart Leighton Buzzard as part of the Share the Journey walk. Together they have added about 200 miles to the totaliser.
Why were they walking? They wanted to show world leaders that they too need to step up and agree ambitious new UN agreements on refugees and migration in September and beyond.
One of the walkers was Debbie Purfield (CAFOD coordinator) who was also on the stage 3 walk. She writes :
We started the day with prayer and reflection before setting off at about 9:20am. We walked with the Lampedusa cross (again) as a wonderful sign of solidarity with refugees.
Having done the stage 3 walk which was a glorious sunny day and where I got so hot and in need of much hydration, I decided to wear less layers this time and carry more water. But wasn’t I in for a shock!
We passed through Flitwick Manor Park; a delightful little park with a lake and woods, and from there headed towards Manor Park House. From there we went through the woods and on to Harlington Wood End, past various farms on the way through fields of barley and yellow rapeseed before stopping for lunch at 1pm.
As it had been raining a lot, the fields were all muddy and there was no escaping from its clutches. This slowed us down and made walking so much more difficult with the added weight of the mud on our shoes.
My shoes were soaked through and bubbles managed to find their way through various holes in them. After a while I could no longer feel my feet! Not having a water proof jacket (how silly is that!) and walking through the fields where the rapeseed was up to our waist, my body was damp and the contents of my pockets soaking.
We were told off by some farmers for trespassing on their land (nearly had the dogs on us!) despite it being signposted as public way. We had to climb over several styles some of which were so rickety and dangerous and with muddy shoes they were very slippery. One of our group slipped and fell. Thank God she was unhurt! My fellow pilgrims were marvellous in their support and humour throughout the journey which sustained me.
Throughout all this, I couldn’t help reflect on the plight of refugees who have to face what we were going through but on a significantly larger and more horrendous scale. They get abuse, they have dangerous crossings, they are cold, wet and hungry and that is just the physical. What emotional and mental burdens they carry is unthinkable! We stopped to pray for our brothers and sisters on the move.
After lunch (which we were so grateful for) we continued the rest of the route (last 4 miles), passing through Eggington and into Leighton Buzzard where we had a warm welcome and refreshments from Anne and Katy, parishioners of the Sacred Heart parish.
This walk was so much more difficult than stage 3 but it really brought home a loud message and made standing in solidarity with my brothers and sisters on the move more meaningful. I feel even more energised to invite others as well to call upon our world leaders to act to uphold the rights of refugees and migrants.”
Thank you Sacred Heart, Leighton Buzzard for your welcome and refreshments to the pilgrims. To all those who participated on the walk, you are such an inspiration and well done to you! A special thanks to organiser Alban Macdonald for his excellent and detail planning of the pilgrimage.
Your actions will show world leaders that they too need to step up now and agree ambitious new UN agreements on refugees and migration.