Ben will rely on strangers

Ben Bradshaw, who is walking 322 miles for charity.
Ben Bradshaw, who is walking 322 miles for charity.

A TRAINEE priest has set off on a 322-mile walk, without any money, food or accommodation, to raise cash for charity.

Ben Bradshaw, who studies at the College of the Resurrection in Mirfield, left the town on Monday.

He will walk for two weeks, until he reaches Buckfast Abbey in Devon, relying entirely on the kindness of strangers to feed him and put him up for the night.

Mr Bradshaw, is raising money to build a church for refugees at Tongogara in Zimbabwe and disabled residents of the Mutemwa settlement in Zimbabwe, which he visited last year.

He has taken inspiration from John Bradburne, a wandering holy man who stayed at Buckfast Abbey after the Second World War and spent the last years of his life caring for residents in Mutemwa.

Mr Bradshaw, 25, said: “I’ve been doing practice walks for the last month, but I’ve never walked for more than two days in a row. Everyone has been very supportive. I’m not taking any money or food, so it’s a real challenge, but it’s exciting.

“I’m going to churches who will not know I’m coming, but that’s an element of faith, that people will help me out with a sandwich or a little bit of food to keep me going.”

Originally from North Devon, Mr Bradshaw, of Tannery Court, is two years into his three-year studies at the College of the Resurrection in Stocks Bank Road.

He said his wife, Tara, has been very supportive and has joined him on practice walks.

Mr Bradshaw has planned his journey around a strict timetable, which has already seen him walk 29 miles in one day.

Today, he is scheduled to walk 27.5 miles from Shifnal in Shropshire, through Bridgnorth to Kidderminster in Worcestershire.

He said: “I will be taking a road atlas with me, so I will be sticking to the roads.

“I think I would get very lost if I started traipsing through fields.”

Mr Bradshaw hopes to raise £25,000 from his walk, which he is due to finish on July 25. To sponsor him, visit www.justgiving.com/ ben-bradshaw.