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.

Sunday 6th July

Route: Glynde to Lambeth
Distance: 55.56 miles; 1510 miles so far

Weather: Bright start deteriorating into heavy rain then clearing

Fuelled with a hearty breakfast, I said my farewells to Hannah and Ben at 9.30 and headed up through the village. I look forward to seeing them again at their wedding in my home parish in Silsden next month and hope all the final preparations go smoothly. Thanks for a wonderful stay..and the thoughtful snacks.


Up the hill past the Glynde estate house, I soon came across Glydebourne itself, where I later discovered there was a performance of Carmen that evening. Then after passing an alpaca lama farm, the bazaar sight of a grazing camel. The route took me on back roads between the A26 and A27, past the Bentley Car Museum and Wildlife Park (a somewhat incongrous combination) - eventually crossing the A27 past the Lavender Line steam railway. This is beautiful country, and with fields of hay bails and majestic trees.

I was heading north towards Crawley Down where I had planned to meet Christian, a German assistant from The Vine in L'Arche Lambeth, who wanted to accompany me into London. The mobile rang and Christan reported that he had sprung a puncture so would be late for our rendezvous at 11.30, and would have to find a bike shop.

Going through Fletching, I called into the village church of St Andrew and St Mary the Virgin. The service had just finished but I spoke with the church warden and the vicar's husband explaining what I was doing and asking for support for the appeal. Further down the road there was evidence of p sons being taken to a cricket match so I stopped to speak with one parent to explain what I was doing, and further on a mother with two young children on a walk.

Along the road I also bumped into a group from the 1st Hayward Heath Cubs on a woodland trail. Hope you had a good walk despite the rain! Yes, the rain really came down from here on and by the time I reached Ardingly, it was pouring down and no doubt spoiling the plans of the events taking place at the South of England Show ground, near the National Trust Wakehurst Place.

Christian rang to say that he had got his puncture fixed so we were on target for meeting at Hunters Hill at 12.30. I got there feeling like drowned rat, as did other cyclists who were taking refuge at the Crown Pub here at the top of the hill. Christian arrived and we had a quick sandwich lunch before braving the weather again.

The rain eventually subsided as we crossed the busy M25, stopping on the bridge to view the incessant traffic whose noise footprint must affect a wide corridor – the price of progress.

The road up to White Hill was a pig of a climb, and Christian left me struggling, having run out of gears, so there was no option but to get off and push.

We then encountered the outskirts of London at Caterham, and found a cycle path which took us to Purley where we then followed the excellent map prepared by David Grimshaw which guided us easily through the suburban streets. I was aware that the 1500 mile point was soon coming up and quite appropriately I passed it at the John Fisher Sports School, Peaks Hill, Purley. I must write to the Head and ask him/her if the School would consider some sponsorship. I couldn't easily absorb the fact that I'd achieved my goal after 29 days on the road, averaging 52 miles a day. But there were still another 250 miles to go.

By the time we reached Croydon the sun started to shine. We wheeled into Rosendale Road to an enthusiastic welcome. Thanks Christian for the moral support in such miserable weather!

It was great to arrive at The Vine, which as been a second home to me over the 18 years I have worked for L'Arche. Many of the people who were core members of the house have died over that period: Nick, Beryl, Doreen, Bernadette, Primrose and Brian, but Sylvia and since then Sunta have been joined by new members Mike, Donna and Jackwho have brought new energy to the house. They and other members of L'Arche had gathered to welcome us and Marcela and the house team had prepared a delicious buffet. Visitors Robert, Stephanie and family from New Zealand also dropped in. They had both been assistants in the Community many years ago, Stephanie coincidentally having been part of the team which welcomed Sylvia.

It was great to relax amongst friends. Thanks to everyone for the wonderful welcome. I had hoped to get some blogging done after the meal, but Christian and I ,with Louise and Marcela's help, spent a frustrating hour trying to get the house broadband up and running again. At one point in a series of telephone conversations with the BT help-line, we were told that The Vine didn't have a broadband account but a narrowband account. We needed to ring another number which told us we did indeed have a broadband package. In the end we rebooted and it sprung into life again. BT – you need to get yourself sorted!

To celebrate the day, Christian and I went over to the Rosendale for a pint before bed.

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