Vicar Paul takes the long road home

Published on: 02 May 2017

DOWNEND vicar the Rev Paul Peterson chose a novel way to mark his 50th birthday - by walking more than 50 miles from his birthplace in Taunton to Downend to raise funds for a street children’s charity in Africa. 

He said: “I wanted to do something different to honour this significant birthday, and plumped on  a fundraiser to support Retrak, a charity working mainly in Africa. I’ve visited their flagship project in Uganda a couple of times and have been massively impressed with the transformational nature of their work, where they provide practical support for children who for various reasons have ended up begging on the street. 

“When they emailed me about their latest campaign under the heading of ‘First Step Home’ plans began to fall into place. I feel I’ve got so much to give thanks to God for, having enjoyed 50 years of good health, security and relative affluence, and as I’ve always enjoyed walking this seemed like a good idea at the time!”

Paul, along with friends and family members, set out from Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton on Easter Monday, and completed the 58 miles over two days, stopping off at various landmarks of personal significance en route. These included schools Paul had attended, sports venues, pubs and churches, before hobbling into Downend with achy limbs and blistered feet 36 hours later. So far about £1500 has been raised.

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