Mark Potter, Paul McLaughlin and Phillip Gibbs, who are all experienced walkers, were faced with blistering, 30 degree heat when they set off for the 31-mile trek earlier this month.
Starting at 8am from St Mary’s church, they were sent on their way with a blessing from Canon Ann Waizeneker, the vicar, and members of the congregation, family and friends. Their route took them through the South Downs – across the River Adur and up to the South Downs Way, along the Monarch’s Way, and finally following the Literary Trail down into Chichester.
The ‘intense and relentless’ afternoon heat was distinctly challenging between Amberley and Bignor Hill, and did not ease off until evening. The walkers arrived at Chichester Cathedral after 10.5 hours.
Mark, who has been an active member of St Mary’s with his family for 10 years, said he had been inspired to do something to help the church and community during this difficult period.
“The Covid 19 lockdown has meant we’ve stopped many fund raising activities, but many expenses have remained,” he said. “Being on the PCC I get to see the great things that are done by everyone reaching out to our community, and I simply felt inspired to support them if I could.”
The walk raised £3,000 – a sum which is expected to be matched by the company Mark works for.
Canon Ann said: “The support they have had is fantastic and this contribution to our finances will really help us to keep the church open and supporting the community as it always has done. We are so grateful to them for undertaking this walk in such challenging conditions and to everyone who has sponsored them.”
To donate, visit sites.google.com/site/smdhfamily/a-sponsored-walk-for-st-mary-s