From soggy Lynn to sunny Spain – that’s the 1,500-mile fundraising trek that is ahead of former High Sheriff of Norfolk James Bagge.
James, supported by his brother Tom, took the first steps on the journey, which is aiming to raise £60,000 for unpaid carers across Norfolk, as they left Lynn Town Hall yesterday.
The sponsored walk will take about three months to complete and will come to a conclusion in Santiago de Compostela in northern Spain – which is a famed pilgrimage destination for hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world each year.
Before leaving on Wednesday, James handed over his High Sheriff of Norfolk title to Charles Watt in a ceremony at the town hall.
Civil dignitaries, staff from West Norfolk carers, friends, family and members of the public were on hand to bid farewell to the brothers.
“This is a very exciting, frightening moment. What a wonderful send-off here – the end of a very special year and the beginning of a very hard-worked three months,” James said.
The pair are hoping the walk will raise at least £60,000 to support unpaid carers in Norfolk, and have made a promising start having gathered more than £20,000.
James said: “I think that one of the main points is to raise the issue as an issue and the profile of the issue and awareness of it. These people do a huge amount of work quietly, unknown, unseen and unsung. They need support.
“People have been hugely generous and I hope they continue to be so as we head down the track.”
Prior to the trip, James had his pilgrim’s passport stamped by Canon Christopher Ivory, at Lynn Minster.
James said: “This is the pilgrim’s passport which you have to deliver at the end when you get to Compostela to prove where you’ve been, where you’ve come from and the King’s Lynn Minster have stamped the passport today, and a fine stamp it is too.
“Every stamp you get down the road is a different one, a unique stamp, so you end up with a huge collection of wonderful stamps through England, France and Spain.”
James said he expects his spirits to go up and down, but he has a number of ideas of how to keep positive.
“I’ll listen to a bit of music, and always look on the bright side.
“And the people you meet, that’s so special actually and there’s lots of wonderful people from all over the world whom you meet as you get further down the track, and I’ve got my brother. He’s coming with me to Weymouth and maybe further.”
To support the pair’s fundraising trek, go to walking4norfolk.com.
Pictured are James, left, and Tom as they set off yesterday.