Stradsett’s High Sheriff off on 1,500-sponsored pilgrimage
Some may think that after a busy year as High Sheriff of Norfolk, James Bagge is looking forward to taking it easy as he steps down soon.
Not a bit of it ... for Mr Bagge, of Stradsett, 65, plans to start an epic sponsored walk 1,500 miles from West Norfolk all the way to Santiago de Compostela in northern Spain.
The Galician city is a famed pilgrimage destination for hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world each year, drawn to the burial place of St James.
The walk, undertaken with his brother Tom, 63, will take an estimated three months and raise money for young carers in Norfolk.
Walking for Norfolk was launched on Tuesday at a breakfast meeting held at Lynn Town Hall.
Mr Bagge said: “In a day over three weeks’ time on the 28th of March, I hand over to the new High Sheriff and I walk out of this Town Hall after lunch heading south to Stradsett and then on eventually to Weymouth.
“My brother Tom Bagge is coming with me as long as we don’t fall out.
“We have walked together before and we have got lost before in the Forest of Dean … but anyway supposing we manage to find our way between Luton and Dunstable, (which looks very tricky on the map at the moment), and get to Weymouth and take the Ferry to St Malo and head down through France, keeping to the left side of Bordeaux and down to the Pyrenees, over the Pyrenees, turn right and it is just 500 miles more to Santiago de Compostella.
“It is 1500 miles in all and it is going to take me about three months. That is the theory. The fact is that every day I wake up I am very conscious of the odd twinge in the knee or the hip, so fingers crossed and let’s hope the joints and muscles hold out.
“There is no guarantee that I’m going to make it but one guarantee I can make is that I’m going to give of my best.”
Mr Bagge said there was an estimated 94,000 unpaid carers in Norfolk.
He explained:”The end of my year as High Sheriff seems to be a wonderful opportunity to seize to raise money for what I view as a very worth and very current cause.
“During the course of the year I learned a lot about volunteering and first of all, in Norfolk as elsewhere there are a lot of them.
But I have discovered there are another group of volunteers, people who give of their time, not so much volunteer in that they don’t choose to do what they are doing, who don’t get that same level of recognition and these are the unpaid carers.”
He said he hoped to raise at least £60,000 to help young carers in the county.
He intends to post a blog of his travels which can be found on www.walking4norfolk.com. That is also the site to go to be find the link to the Virgin Giving page to make a donation.