Bishop limbering up for final Sheffield fundraising effort

Bishop of Hallam John Rawsthorne, who is limbering up for the 14th Annual Bishop's Walk for St Wilfrid's.

Bishop of Hallam John Rawsthorne, who is limbering up for the 14th Annual Bishop's Walk for St Wilfrid's.

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A CLERGYMAN is limbering up for what could be his last fundraising walk for a Sheffield charity.

Bishop of Hallam John Rawsthorne will don his walking boots for the 14th year in a row to raise cash for St Wilfrid’s centre, on Queens Road, for the homeless, vulnerable and socially excluded.

John has helped to raise around £150,000 for the charity - even completing the 15-mile trek blindfolded, on one leg and by going backwards.

He is usually joined by a small army of supporters, including those who attend St Wilfrid’s, along the way.

The charity’s patron Simrin Choudrie, the interior designer who visited the centre for Channel 4 show The Secret Millionaire, is also set to take part.

The route around Sheffield is planned by centre director Kevin Bradley, who keeps it secret from the cleric until the day of the event.

But with retirement on the horizon, the event on September 7 could be the final one for the 75-year-old.

John said: “Bishops work until they are 75.

“I turned 75 last November, but we stay until we are replaced, and at the moment that can take up to 18 months or two years. So it could be my last, but on the other hand if I am still here and still have the energy I will do it.

“I enjoy walking but with my advancing years the hills are getting a little bit more difficult.

“I think St Wilfrid’s would like the new bishop who is appointed to be a bishop who walks.

“The event usually raises around £10,000 a year, which is not to be sniffed at, especially in the current climate”

Once a replacement Bishop of Hallam is found John plans to return to Liverpool, where he started his career, to carry out pastoral work in the city.

n Donate online at www.virginmoneygiving.com/charities/stwilfrid’scentre or send donations to Kevin Bradley at St Wilfrid’s Centre, 524 Queens Road, Sheffield, S2 4DT.

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