What do you do when the church roof needs replacing, along with the sound and lighting systems? Cycle to Walsingham, of course. Six members of the congregation from St Martin’s, Ruislip, cycled to Our Lady’s Shrine over two days in July to ask for her prayers and to raise sponsorship money. Walsingham is a very special place for many people at St Martin’s, and the idea of the challenge was born in The Bull during the Men’s Pilgrimage last year.

The six cyclists were aged 11 to somewhat older; and the arrangements were made relatively easily. A “seventh man” from St Martin’s drove a van as the support vehicle, and a kind vicar at the right point along the way was contacted and asked to find accommodation for them. There were a few nervous faces on the morning of departure as the cyclists and a crowd gathered at church for the Pilgrim Blessing and “Le Grand Depart”; but all was well as they whizzed down the church path and disappeared through the lychgate.

All were Walsingham pilgrims already; although previous trips for the annual Children’s, Men’s, or Parish Pilgrimages had been made by car or coach. No doubt walking into the Holy House this time felt a little different, and not just because of the aches and pains. Congratulations to them all – and may Our Lady pray for them, and for us.

Jack Noble