John Peet, former General Secretary of L'Arche UK, is hoping to raise £30,000 by cycling 1500 miles around the UK and visiting every L'Arche Community and Project on the way. The money will go to L'Arche in Zimbabwe, where funds are so desperately needed just to keep the Community going, and to the Projects in Glasgow and Manchester that, with your help, will soon become L'Arche Communities.

Saturday 13th July

Route: Ipswich to Basildon
Distance: 60.63; Miles so far 1673
Weather: Cloudy then hot and sunny

It was about 9.20 by the time I left, and sad to say goodbye to everyone in the house. Thanks for looking after me so well. I headed down town for the bank, then found the A137 to Manningtree.

On the way I passed a church at Brantham and bumped into a lady visigting the area who was looking fofr the time of services, and asked her to give a sponsor form to the parish priest.

Here I discovered there was a major show called the Tendring Hundreds taking place near Little Bromley. Traffic everywhere. I passed the show site and could see it was a small version of the Kenilworth Show we used to go to as kids with my late Uncle George who farmed nearby.

It looked like the weather was going to hold up for them in contrast to last week-end's wash out at the Great Southern Show.

Then to Ardleigh where I noticed the Methodist Church had a function on so popped in to ask for sponsorship. Thanks for your support, Paul, Stephanie, Margaret, Gloria, Frank and Peggy, and every success with the Link Fellowship.

I stopped for lunch at The New Times pub in Tiptree and endeavoured to interest a couple of patrons in my ride. They have not been the first to question sending money out to Zimbabwe thinking that Mugabe would get his hands on it. I find it quite difficult to persuade such people that L'Arche has established a secure channel through which funds are passed to ensure they receive the money. Thanks to the couple in question for taking the form – I hope you can find your way to making a contribution.

After Malden, I took the minor road to Cold Norton and spotted a cyclist by the side of the road so stopped to see if he needed help. He was faced with a slow puncture and no repair kit, so I was happy to come to the rescue. Hope you managed to get home OK, Mick, and that your son's transplant is a success.

It seemed a long haul from here to Basildon where I was due to arrive by 5.00 for the evening Mass. Fr Julian had kindly responded to our last minute appeal for accommodation after the original plan had to be changed. The SatNav did its stuff so I arrived around 4.50 pm. Fr Julian introduced me and announced the retiring collection would be for L'Arche, so a big thanks to all the parishioners who contributed, and to the Parish for the generous cheque. It was very heartening to have so many people come up to me at the end of Mass to wish me well.

Julian made me feel very welcome and went for a take away curry whilst I had a shower. Over dinner he explained the Team Ministry he is involved in running three Churches in Basildon which seems a creative solution to the shortage of priests. It sounds like a challenging but exciting time ahead. Many thanks, Julian, for your warm and generous hospitality and every success with your ministry.

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