On Good Friday after the service, Gill Heath, Howard and Rosemary Harper, and Pauline Martyn set off for a great adventure. They had the most wonderful time enjoying each others’ company, walking 106 miles in 10 days and in the process raising £1200 for Christian Aid.
The double sonnet below gives some information about what they did. Sonnets contain 14 lines and conveniently the four names of the group added up to 28 lines. If you read down the lines you will be able to find the interwoven names of all the participants, who incidentally are very grateful for all the wonderful support they received.
AN ACROSTIC DOUBLE SONNET
Rosemary thought she’d give this feat a go,
Pauline had at last achieved her dream
Gill, barking mad, as usual, was ‘gung ho’,
Howard was almost dead from D of E!
Off, off they went, the South Downs Way to do,
And left St B’s Good Friday duties made.
In matching garb they wore their T-shirts new.
On each was written “Walk for Christian Aid”.
So straight to Eastbourne and their task to meet!
Up, up they went to conquer Beachy Head
Long, long the Seven Sisters - blazing heat
When Alfriston was reached they all felt dead.
Endeavouring though to put their pain aside
Learnt laughter, fun and food would them revive.
Long it would take to tell of how they coped;
And of God’s glories seen upon their hike;
Magnificent the views from Ditchling’s slopes;
Incredible the shape of Devil’s Dyke.
In record time they reached the halfway mark.
Rivers they crossed, the Adur, Arun, Ouse
And, in great comfort of converted barn,
Nightly they planned the details of their route.
And day by day Winchester nearer grew,
Dogged but proud, they journeyed on their way,
Round every hilltop were more stunning views,
Endless the sunshine that was theirs each day.
Never had four adventurers been so blessed.
Yes God was good! Now these four friends could rest.
They had read in the South Downs Way guide book, that the doorkeeper at St Cross Hospital would give a ‘dole’ of bread and ale to anyone who completed the South Downs Way, in the same way that travellers had been nourished over centuries. On reaching Winchester they decided that this would be a nice way to mark the end of the walk and so wrote the little poem below and recited it to the doorkeeper at the Hospital, which lay about a mile along the river from the cathedral.
We wearied trav’llers from Eastbourne have come
So glad are we that five-score miles are done.
We’ve walked for Christian Aid with heart and soul.
And now we greet you Sir and beg our dole.
They received their ‘dole’ and were delighted to be told that they had become the first people to complete the newly extended walk. The date was May 1st and it was the day on which the official end of the South Downs Way had been moved to St Cross Hospital.
Gill Heath, Howard and Rosemary Harper, Pauline Martyn