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Vicar's 1,000 mile pilgrimage to raise air ambulance funds

A west Cumbrian vicar is set to take on a gruelling 1,000 mile pilgrimage to help raise funds for the Great North Air Ambulance.

Rev Peter Turnbull in the cockpit of the GNAA's Pride of Cumbria helicopterThe Rev Peter Turnbull, team vicar of the Crosslacon Benefice, will set off on his journey after services at St John's and St Leonard's churches in Cleator Moor on Sunday 27 April.

He will follow the famous pilgrims' route of The Way of St James (El Camino de Santiago) in northern Spain during a three month sabbatical.

Peter said: “This is something I have longed to do for many years. I know from others who have walked the route, including my wife Jacqueline, that it will be tough but I'm looking forward to it.

“The physical exertion of walking 20 miles a day for the next three months will be offset by the spiritual enrichment I know I will experience, following in the footsteps of so many thousands of pilgrims.

“I've been putting in plenty of practice walking the Cumbrian fells and I hope that has helped to build up my stamina ahead of the pilgrimage.”

El Camino de Santiago stretches from the french/spanish border across northern Spain to the cathedral city of Santiago de Compostela.

Peter is one of thousands of people who make the pilgrimage each year. Last year his wife, the Rev Jacqueline Curtis, team rector of the Crosslacon Benefice, completed the route.

He plans to stop off at Conques, Cahors, Oviedo and San Sebastian along the route and aims to complete the walk in three months.

Peter will raise money for the Great North Air Ambulance through sponsorship.

He added: “This will be a tough challenge but I'm thrilled to think that every step I take will help raise much-needed funds for the Great North Air Ambulance.

“I'm padre of the local army cadet unit and this is their chosen charity so they suggested I raise the money. I know how vital a service it provides for our county and so I'm glad to be able to help in some way.”

Peter's fundraising efforts have been welcomed by the Great North Air Ambulance team, whose helicopter the Pride of Cumbria flies out of Langwathby.

Jim Entwistle, assistant director of GNAA, said: “We're absolutely delighted that Peter is getting behind us in this way.

“We rely on the support from the community; otherwise we would not be able to continue. Peter's fantastic efforts will help our work across the county of Cumbria.”

Peter will be joined by Jacqueline for the first two weeks of his pilgrimage before taking on the remainder of the journey alone.

He said: “This is something that I have always wanted to do. I will have the chance to raise money while also walking with God. I'm really looking forward to it!”

To sponsor the Rev Peter Turnbull please visit his Facebook account at or go to

Notes for editors
El Camino de Santiago is the pilgrimage to the shrine of the apostle St James in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia in northwestern Spain.

The Great North Air Ambulance's Pride of Cumbria helicopter flies 500 times a year. The average cost of each flight is £2,500.

Pic caption: The Rev Peter Turnbull in the Great North Air Ambulance's Pride of Cumbria. Courtesy of James Murphy.



For further information please contact Dave Roberts, Diocesan Communications Officer, on 07984 927434 or 01228 560079.

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