THE Dean of Worcester, the Very Revd Peter Atkinson, has left the county on his six week cycling pilgrimage around the great abbeys of Normandy in Northern France. The trip is part of a three-month sabbatical and he will cycle 1,000 kilometres, helping to raise money for the Friends of Worcester Cathedral.
Peter is recreating a cycle tour made by Percy Dearmer, a hymn-writer and liturgical scholar who lived over 100 years ago. Mr Dearmer cycled the route in the summer of 1897, recording the journey in his book; ‘Highways and Byways in Normandy’ (1900).
In the book, Percy Dearmer recommends a ‘knickerbocker suit of tweeds’ for cycling and this was worn by the Dean for his departure ceremony.
Peter said: “This will be a real challenge for me, but one I’m looking forward to enormously. Percy Dearmer also recommended carrying a ‘folding india-rubber bath’ while travelling, but I feel confident that French religious houses have probably installed showers since 1897!”
The Dean will stay at seven religious houses throughout his journey, including the Abbey of Le Bec-Hellouin, and will carry greetings from English religious communities, both Anglican and Roman Catholic.
The cycle ride will support the Friends of Worcester Cathedral who have been challenged to recruit one new ‘Friend’ for every kilometre cycled by the Dean. It’s hoped that the challenge will raise £10,000 towards the repair of the Edgar Tower, first built by King John.
The Dean is writing a daily blog during his pilgrimage, which can be found at: www.deanofworcester.tumblr.com.
There is more information on the Friends of Worcester Cathedral at: www.worcestercathedral.org.uk.