A PARISHIONER showed solidarity with refugees during a six-day walk across Spain.
Havant pilgrim Nigel Myall trekked 75 miles on the Way of St James to Santiago de Compostela, raising £600 for a refugee appeal by Catholic development charity Cafod.
Writing a diary of his adventure, the 55-year-old hopes that his pledge will encourage people in England and Wales to show support for refugees during the ongoing crisis.
He said: ‘I arrived to find the hostel I’d booked wasn’t anywhere near La Coruña, where I was due to start my pilgrimage.
‘The only hostel in town was a homeless shelter but it was nice, clean and modern. Every person there was kind and welcoming. It was a humbling experience.’
Father-of-four Nigel carried a Lampedusa cross, handcarved from the wreckage of refugee boats, during the pilgrimage. He battled the elements on his way through Ferrol to Betanzos, before eventually reaching Santiago.
Nigel added: ‘After the first few miles, the weather closed in. Don’t always expect sunshine in Galicia!
‘I then had the problem of finding enough water. My tip is to always ask the locals if the spring water is drinkable.’
Nigel, who told The News that he was ‘deeply affected’ by reports of the refugee crisis, wished to dedicate his certificate to the ‘unknown refugee’. He eventually dedicated it to Alan Kurdi, the three-year-old Syrian refugee who drowned in the Mediterranean Sea.
‘I gained more from the pilgrimage than I could ever have hoped for in grace’, Nigel reflected.
Lynda Mussell, Cafod’s Portsmouth representative, says that Nigel’s compassion for those suffering is extraordinary.
She added: ‘We’re very grateful to Nigel for completing such a wonderful pilgrimage, and would like to thank him for sharing the experience with us.
‘Many of us feel the same sentiment that the carpenter who carved the Lampedusa crosses, Francesco Tuccio, has spoken of, that feeling of “What can I do to make a difference?”
‘This was a very real way of showing solidarity and letting those who have been forced from their homes know that we do care.’