THE Roman Catholic Bishop of Hallam led the way on what could be his last annual walk in aid of St Wilfrid’s Centre in Queens Road, which works with homeless and other vulnerable people.
The Rt Rev John Rawsthorne, aged 75, who is waiting for a retirement date, was among 21 walkers who took a 15-mile circular route in the Peak District, from Calver that called at Chatsworth, Rowsley and the Monsal Trail.
Others on the Bishop’s Walk last Friday included St Wilfrid’s clients and staff, headteachers, police and volunteers.
“It was brilliant,” said centre director Kevin Bradley, who organised the walk. “It was a great day and everything went well.
“The Duke of Devonshire came out to see us and promised to support St Wilfrid’s.
“Afterwards I bought everybody a pint in the Bridge Inn in Calver, which was well received.”
London-based charity patron Simrin Choudhrie, who has supported the centre since visiting for Channel 4 TV’s The Secret Millionaire, had to pull out at the last minute to fly to Delhi.
It is hoped the walk will raise more than £100,000 towards £1.8m for a residential centre, with 50 bedrooms, on the doorstep of St Wilfrid’s. An appeal launch is being planned for next month, although word is already spreading that donations are needed.
As for the Bishop, who is preparing for retirement in Liverpool, Kevin said: “He was like a mountain goat! He was very good company.”
Bishop John said: “The message we really want to get across to everyone who sponsored us is that we finished it – so they’ll have to pay up!”