Havant parishioner will go on the walk of a lifetime

Nigel Myall, left, has been deeply affected by the news reports which show refugees suffering
Nigel Myall, left, has been deeply affected by the news reports which show refugees suffering
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Nigel Myall will journey across Spain with a wooden cross in solidarity for the refugees in crisis

A DAD of four will trek 75 miles acrossSpain with a wooden cross in solidarity with the refugees who make the perilous journey to Europe to escape war and terror.

Fifty-five-year-old Nigel Myall, who recently walked more than 10 miles from Havant to Portsmouth for the same cause, will start his pilgramage on the Way of St James to Santiago de Compostela next Wednesday.

The Havant pilgrim is walking on behalf of the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development charity and it’s hoped that the act will instil hope and inspiration in communities across England and Wales to welcome refugees.

On September 3, about 40 parishioners, including the mayor of Havant Councillor Faith Ponsonby, walked more than ten miles from Havant to Portsmouth.

The wooden crosses used by the group were made by Italian carpenter Francesco Tuccio, after a boat carrying about 500 refugees from Eritrea and Somalia sank off the small Italian island of Lampedusa in 2013. Only 151 people survived.

After meeting some of the survivors, Francesco collected the wreckage and carved wooden crosses as a symbol of hope for the future.

Nigel said: ‘I’ve been deeply affected by the news reports about the suffering of refugees.

‘I have also been planning a personal pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. So I thought, why not combine the two?

‘I am funding the cost of the pilgrimage myself and the money will go directly to refugee relief efforts organised by the CAFOD partners.

‘I will get a certificate from the cathedral in Santiago confirming that I have completed the journey on foot.

‘I have no idea what to expect because I have never even been backpacking, but I’m really looking forward to it.’

CAFOD volunteer and fellow parishioner Maureen Thompson, said: ‘I wish Nigel all the luck with his pilgrimage.’