Lenten Project Helen O’Brien Memorial Sponsored Walk 2013

23rd March 2013

The Helen’s Hikers group had grown steadily during the week and it was announced that there would probably be about fourteen hardy people taking part. Some thought they were foolhardy to attempt the walk in snow and rain in a temperature of 1 degree! A hasty conference was held and the more enthusiastic hikers won the day. The Tornadoes had called off their attempt to cycle 50+ miles in those conditions. Undaunted, Phil Townsend announced that he would join the walk instead.

The group were ferried to the start at St Catherine of Siena Church in Chessington where they met Fr Peter Jenner going to say Mass. He was invited to join in but he felt the pressing need to attend to Parish matters instead but wished the walkers well.

So just after 9am Elaine Intranova (you can blame her hikers, as it was all her idea!) Canon Anthony, Geri Schwarz, Una Keeley, Brett & Cindy Owen (not forgetting Chester, the dog) Imelda & Andrew Haines, Mary Taylor, Carol Bedson, Anne O’Brien, Helen Emmet, Ruth Oliver, Phil Townsend (and later Angie Carrion) set off along Leatherhead Road towards Surbiton at quite a pace. That was probably due to a combination of cold and driving snow.

Back at the Presbytery, the team of Rosemary, Aideen and Monica prepared the soup, sandwiches and various drinks for the first stop in Richmond Park.

St Raphael’s Church was the team’s next goal and their new facilities in the Hall were visited and pronounced excellent! Progress across Kingston to St Agatha’s was very good and after the customary photo stop they made it to the Car Park inside Kingston Gate a few minutes before the support vehicle arrived.

The walk uphill through the Park to Ladderstile Gate proved to be a bit of fun as the mud made it very slippery and a few extra yards were added zig-zagging their way through the trees. At St. Ann’s Church, the snow had given way to sleet and it had become windier. From this point, there were three distinct groups. Two or three striding out at a cracking pace followed by the main group and then two or three pacing themselves more carefully. However at each stop, the group spirit prevailed and they arrived as one unit. St Pius X Church was the last refreshment stop and after the customary photo it was on to St Joseph’s just as it started to snow again.

After leaving St Joseph’s, a small “discussion” took place as to the best route back to OLI. Deviating from the planned route the walkers took the alternative roads and arrived back safe and sound at OLI. A total of just over 11 miles or 18+ kms in 3 hours 24 mins 25 seconds with stops.

On arriving back at OLI, the final photo was taken before it was into the Presbytery for a hot drink. Boots off inside the front door revealed an assortment of blisters and blood and socks worn through. Half an hour later most of them probably regretted taking them off as putting them back on was quite an effort.

So, congratulations to all those who took part in such conditions and, hopefully, your efforts should be amply rewarded when the Sponsorship money rolls in.

Monica Tett