Bishop to lead his final pilgrimage

HUNDREDS of walkers are
expected to join the Bishop of Ripon and Leeds, John Packer,
as he leads his final Boxing
Day Pilgrimage from Ripon Cathedral to Fountains Abbey
before retiring at the end of the year.

The walk follows in the footsteps of a group of Cistercian monks who first walked from Ripon on December 26, 1132, and founded the abbey.

The Bishop has led the walk each year for the past 14 years as Bishop of Ripon and Leeds, and as the popularity of the four-mile pilgrimage has continued to grow.

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He said: “For me, the Boxing Day Pilgrimage has always been one of the highlights of the year, though more so on a crisp winter morning than if it is pouring with rain.”

Before the pilgrims set off, a service of Holy Communion takes place at 9.30am at the cathedral. Those taking part in the pilgrimage then set off from the West Front of Ripon Cathedral at approximately 10.10am.

It will be one of the Bishop’s final duties before he retires at the end of December. Ripon Cathedral will host a service of thanksgiving and farewell to the Bishop on January 5 at 3pm.