Jim Quinn, from the Birmingham diocese, is planning to walk 155 miles on a personal pilgrimage to raise awareness of CAFOD’s Thirst for change campaign. We caught up with Jim to find out more about his hopes for the walk and what inspired him to action.
Where are walking and when? I’m setting off from St Chad’s Cathedral in Birmingham on 22 April, travelling 155 miles along the Grand Union canal to finish at CAFOD‘s office Romero House on 15 May. On the 15 May, tens of thousands of campaign messages will be delivered to the Prime Minister.
I’ll be travelling through three dioceses: Birmingham, Northampton and Westminster. I will be joined on the last day by my parish priest, Father Eddie Clare, one or more parishioners, Campaign volunteer James Walker and Becky, another walker, who will be coming to the end of her own walk for water along the full length of the Thames!
What inspired you? I have always flirted with the idea of a long distance walk for CAFOD. I have been a keen walker and a campaign volunteer for over 25 years. When I learnt that the next campaign was about water it was a no-brainer. Before I took voluntary redundancy last year, much of my professional life involved working with water in the form of Birmingham’s canal improvement programme. Birmingham and London are linked by the Grand Union canal and walking along the canal felt like an obvious way to promote a campaign that I thought many people could relate to.
What will keep you going when your feet really hurt? I am a great believer that our faith calls us to act and to act politically. Fundraising is important, but fundamental structural change is more important in bringing about effective long-lasting change. This belief in effective Christian social action is what will keep me going.
What is going to be the biggest challenge on the walk? My knees! Seriously.
What are you most looking forward to? Meeting people and talking to them about the campaign and the value of campaigning generally. CAFOD is not just celebrating 50 years of fast days – it has been campaigning since I got to know it in 1984. I’m hoping that along the way I can get at least 1,550 people to sign cards calling on David Cameron to lead the way on ending water poverty at the G8 in May.
What is the top item that you can’t be without on a long walk? Difficult one this. Do I give a sensible answer and say my trusty boots or is it like a Desert Island Discs one luxury item? If the latter, I would say something to read – a challenge when you are trying to keep the weight in your pack down!
How can readers help you on your walk? You can sponsor me and call on the PM to take action to turn the tide on water poverty. I’d also be delighted if people were inspired to sign up as campaign volunteers as a result of my walk.