Monday, 10 September 2012

Walking to Rome!

Tom in the mountains enroute
Tom Hagger of Seaford Catenian Circle is undertaking an arduous but circuitous walk of some 2,000 miles from Seaford in Sussex to Rome. A parishioner of St Thomas More in Seaford he started from there (in the rain) on Tuesday 3rd July, walking the first four miles to Newhaven on the first leg of his walk to cross the Channel to Dieppe. From where his total walk will take four months to complete and he aims to arrive in Rome on All Saint’s Day, 1st November.

His route is not a direct one. On the way he will be crossing the High Alps close to the Italian border, walking the Mediterranean coast from Monaco to Genoa, northwards again to Lake Garda, across to Venice, then eventually down to Rome. Among the key points on his route will be Lisieux, Chartres, Orléans, Vezelay, Taizé, Cluny, Annecy, Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne, Monaco, Genoa, Cremona, Padua, Venice, Ravenna, Florence, Siena and Assisi.

Tom says on his fundraising website "So far, I have walked 1,009 of the estimated 2,000 miles, visiting Lisieux, Chartres, Orléans, Vezelay, Taizé, Cluny, Annecy, La Salette, Nice and Monaco. Future key points on my route include Genoa, Cremona, Padua, Venice, Ravenna, Florence, Siena and Assisi. I aim to arrive in Rome on All Saints Day, Thursday 1st November. I am sure it will be cooler by then: recently, it has been up to 39˚c"

Tom started his career as a Metropolitan Police officer and broke his neck during a demonstration. This eventually led to an early ill-health retirement whereupon he retrained as a teacher and taught English for 12 years at Claverham Community College in Battle, East Sussex. Tom and his wife Denise have lived in Seaford for 15 years. He has a life-long interest in music and as a member of St Thomas More’s Church in Seaford took over as choir master and organist, and now runs the choir independently for charity fund raising.

Between leaving the police and starting teaching he undertook a five month walk from London to Athens in Greece, covering 3,000 miles. But he says that, 15 years older, his 50 lbs. rucksack will take some time getting used to. Tom is carrying his own camping gear but intends to find a hotel at least once a week for a long hot soak and a comfy bed. There will be one break in his walk when he will be flying back to England for his son’s wedding before resuming his trek.

He is raising funds for the Multiple Sclerosis Society, which relies on voluntary income to provide vital services to those affected by multiple sclerosis. His youngest sister, Eileen, died three years ago after suffering from MS for thirty years. She bore the disease with courage and good humour, with the outstanding help of her husband, Allen, and their three children, and with the support and advice of the MS Society. If anyone would like to sponsor Tom please log onto his page on the link: http://beatms.mssociety.org.uk/netcommunity/pathtorome

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