Haywards Heath pilgrim Alexander arrives in Rome after walking all the way from St Wilfrid’s Church

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A Haywards Heath chorister has walked all the way to Rome from St Wilfrid’s Church to raise funds to improve the church’s community facilities.

Alexander, 22, entered the Eternal City on Saturday, July 6, three months after setting off for his first stop, Canterbury, on Easter Sunday morning.

Alexander’s church and one in Burgess Hill are dedicated to St Wilfrid, who at 20, was a pilgrim from Canterbury to Rome in 654 but went on horseback.

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Alexander is pictured at the church of San Gregorio Magno al Celio (1633). On that site St Wilfrid, who brought Christianity to Sussex, spent much time at the earlier monastery of St Andrew. There he learned the dating of the moveable feast of Easter that we use today, thanks to his role in the Synod of Whitby (664).

Alexander outside the church of San Gregorio Magno al Celio after he arrived in Rome on Saturday, July 6Alexander outside the church of San Gregorio Magno al Celio after he arrived in Rome on Saturday, July 6
Alexander outside the church of San Gregorio Magno al Celio after he arrived in Rome on Saturday, July 6

Alexander aims to raise sponsorship money to pay for some much-needed improvements to St Wilfrid’s Church’s facilities, particularly its toilets. This, he said, will benefit the whole community, which uses it extensively for concerts and other civic events.

Alexander’s epic sponsored walk is recorded in his illustrated blog at hhpilgrim.co.uk/walk-updates.

He said to all St Wilfrid’s users: “I would be humbled and honoured if you would consider sponsoring me in support of improving its community facilities.”

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To sponsor Alexander, please visit www.justgiving.com/page/hh2rome or post a cheque, payable to ‘St Wilfrid’s PCC’, with ‘Rome Walk’ on the back, to: Treasurer, c/o The Parish Office, St Wilfrid’s Way, Haywards Heath, RH16 3QH. To add 25 per cent Gift Aid, please include with your donation, either posted (as above) or by email to [email protected]: your full name, address and post code, the date, and confirmation that you are a UK taxpayer.

The Church of England Parish of St Wilfrid, Haywards Heath, includes St Wilfrid’s Church in Church Road and the Church of the Presentation of Christ in the Temple in New England Road, and it is part of the Cuckfield Deanery. Its Rector is Fr Edward Pritchett, who took up his position in October 2021.