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John to ride the Via Beata for homelessness charity


John Pinnington, a former headteacher of Notre Dame, is cycling from St David’s to Lowestoft with a friend to raise money for the homelessness project Emmaus.

Together with Paul Appleby, he will be riding 480 miles along the route of the Via Beata over seven days. The pair hope to raise more than £6000 for Emmaus Norfolk & Waveney.

John writes: “When you go for sponsorship, it is always a bit scary because there is a greater responsibility around completing the event. However, doing a ride across the widest part of the UK along the Via Beata is such a great opportunity. Paul and I felt compelled to put our efforts towards helping others not so fortunate as ourselves.

“We have been greatly helped by SUSTRANS who worked out a route along quiet roads for us. Steve and Gill Eggleton, the architects of the Via Beata, were able to help us with recommending accommodation along the way.”

Training has been important for John, as has the spiritual aspect of the journey. “Paul and I started riding once a week during lockdown,” he says. “I had always wanted to cycle the Via Beata from the very first time I heard about it when I was on retreat at Belsey Bridge. It is a pilgrimage route with way stations based on Christ’s life placed every 10 miles along the route. Each way station contains artwork or sculpture. I believe it will grow in popularity as more people hear about it.”

John is currently Chair of the Community Working Group at Emmaus. “It is a very special charity,” he says, “as it offers a community for the homeless and – what is equally important – meaningful and varied work opportunities so that dignity is restored. Emmaus Norfolk and Waveney is able to offer 32 places. There are many different types of work available for companions including upcycling donated furniture, working in sales at the Ditchingham site or Castle Quarter shop and hopefully in the future the service of Bed and Breakfast accommodation.”

You can sponsor John via this link.

To find out more about the Via Beata Pilgrims Route please visit www.viabeata.co.uk

Pictured above are John Pinnington and Paul Appleby