Retired teacher close to finishing walk from Canterbury to Rome

Dick Kempson on the Via Agrippa near Chalons-en-Champagne in France SUS-160410-115044001
Dick Kempson on the Via Agrippa near Chalons-en-Champagne in France SUS-160410-115044001

A retired teacher from Bexhill is about a month away from completing a mammoth pilgrimage from Canterbury to Rome by foot.

Dick Kempson, of Glenleigh Avenue, is walking approximately 1,200 miles to complete a holy rite of passage as well as raising money for Save the Children.

Dick's view of the Alps while walking the Great St Bernard Pass SUS-160410-115055001

Dick's view of the Alps while walking the Great St Bernard Pass SUS-160410-115055001

Setting off on his 60th birthday on July 26, the former Bexhill High and Robertsbridge Community College teacher has walked through France, Switzerland, across the Alps and Appenine mountains and is now in Tuscany.

Dick hopes to meet his wife Angela in the Italian capital on their 30th wedding anniversary later this month and is on schedule.

“I feel confident I can make it, I’m not the greatest outdoorsy sort of person so my morale and confidence does drift,” he said.

“But I’m confident I can do it and I’m enjoying it in a different way than originally. I’m relishing it as it’s not going to be much longer now and I’m enjoying every minute of it.”

Dick Kempson setting off from Canterbury Cathedral on July 27, after a blessing by Canon Clare SUS-160410-115115001

Dick Kempson setting off from Canterbury Cathedral on July 27, after a blessing by Canon Clare SUS-160410-115115001

Canon Clare at Canterbury Cathedral blessed Dick as he left for his adventure across Europe on the Via Francigena.

He said his highlight so far was crossing the Great St Bernard Pass in the Alps as it was the bit was most nervous about as he is scared of heights. But the spectacular views made it all worthwhile.

Dick got into walking after a health scare and has previously done Hadrian’s Wall and St Cuthbert’s Way with Angela.

The Rome walk got off to a bad start as he injured his Achilles heel so it was pushed back from July 1, to July 27.

But so far his feet have held up and he has suffered no major injuries, as well as taking less rest days as he expected.

Dick decided to make the walk even more worthwhile by raising money for Save the Children in light of the current migrant crisis with thousands of refugees making the journey in the opposite direction.

He has raised more than £2,000 so far which he is delighted with.

“It’s nice to think there’s some other benefits coming from it,” he said.

Dick has been keeping a blog of his journeys, charting his course across the continent with more stories of the villages, people and animals he has met, at www.lifepilgrim.co.uk.

To donate to his cause, visit www.lifepilgrim.co.uk/support-save-the-children.

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