Each year at the end of May, The Connection at St Martin in the Fields hold their annual Pilgrimage to Canterbery. This year, Charles, who comes to the JRS-UK Day Centre, took part and completed the four day pilgrimage walking in total an incredible 74 miles and helping to raise funds for homeless people in London.
“The first day was really an amazing day,” Charles expressed on sharing his experience of the pilgrimage. “We walked through the city of London and we reached Swanly which is 18 miles away from London and there we slept in a church – everybody! – and we had lovely dinner, conversations and so on. The second day we reached a place somewhere in Kent, not far from Ashford. We had a lot of discussion as we walked and the next day we were in Charing. And in Charing we discovered a church that was 700 years old, and the first vicar of the church was patronised by King Henry VIII. And we stayed there, we stayed in a school basically and there was evening entertainment where we organised comic strips, theatres, singers so it was a lot of fun. The fourth day was the last day, so we went to Canterbury. And at Canterbury we had a mass at Canterbury Cathedral.
Unfortunately the archbishop of Canterbury was not there but we did see the Dean of Canterbury and they had a choir. A very lovely choir, very lovely songs and we had a reading from those who are really, the thinkers of helping the community.”
On the second day of the walk, Charles, who has been taking part in a photography workshop at JRS, run by Fotosynthesis, a not-for-profit organisation that uses participatory photography to develop skills, give a voice to people and encourage community cohesion, was inspired by the beauty of the area and the joy he felt to take a photo.
“I just stood and I just opened my hands like this just to say how life is, how nature is beautiful and it just shows that although you are walking and people may feel like it was really painful and hard to walk for four days, after the second day, I was still feeling very happy and enthusiastic because it was for a good cause. It’s for people who need accommodation, who need support in their society, who need food for themselves. So my hands that way, show in life we have to be open to each other, we have to welcome each other, we can help each other, and by such action we can iron out some problem in the society such as homelessness, such as poverty and such as mental health problems.”