Pilgrims celebrate anniversary visit

Father Guy Jenkins at St Anne's Church, Southowram.
Father Guy Jenkins at St Anne's Church, Southowram.

The 25th anniversary of a pilgrimage to a holy shrine in Norfolk is being celebrated across Calderdale.

Three churches in Halifax - St Anne’s in Southowram, St Paul’s, King Cross and St Thomas’, Claremount, will embark on a joint trip to Walsingham next month.

Father Guy Jamieson, Vicar at St Anne’s, who is leading the pilgrimage, said: “Father Graham Oakes and Father Michael Hall arranged the first pilgrimage 25 years ago and a group from Halifax have gone there every year since.

“Unfortunately, not many records or photographs remain of the original trip. The only memories are in the minds of those who went.

“More than 50 people will be going on our trip this year, although sometimes people go more than once in a year.”

A range of fundraising activities have been organised by St Anne’s to pay for the trip, while there will also be a celebration at the church to mark the occasion.

Father Jamieson added: “When we realised it was the 25th anniversary, a small group was formed to help mark the occasion. We wanted to use the anniversary to continue the encouragement of pilgrimage and raise funds for the celebrations.

“We’ve had a food party, a chocolate tasting night and a sponsored walk and we also raised £2,000 for the improvement of disabled pilgrims facilities.

“We have already begun to celebrate the anniversary with a service at St Paul’s, King Cross recently and there will be another at St Thomas’ in Claremount on March 2.

“The main celebration will be on Saturday February 2 when the Bishop of Pontefract will be joining us at St Anne’s.”