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The Bishop of Blackburn, Rt Rev. Philip North, will be walking across the County from September 15-17 to raise funds for an exiled African Diocese.

The epic fundraising feat will take place as part of the ongoing Bishop’s Harvest Appeal and walking alongside him will be the Bishop’s Chaplain, Rev. Sam Cheesman.

Bishop Philip launched his 2023 Harvest Appeal last month to support the people of the South Sudanese Diocese of Liwolo; currently living in exile in Uganda following years of civil war in their homeland.

It was last summer, while attending the once-a-decade Lambeth Conference in Canterbury alongside hundreds of Bishops from around the world, that Bishop Philip met someone he has since described as ‘one of the most inspirational Christian leaders he has ever come across’. 

That ‘inspirational leader’ was Bishop Joseph Aba, a man who has a vision to reconstruct not just his Diocese but his nation. Then, in March this year, Bishop Joseph was invited to Lancashire by Bishop Philip to share his story in person with people of all ages. Stories and video about that visit all available on this page.

Subsequently it was decided that the latest Harvest Appeal - the Bishop’s first since being appointed Bishop of Blackburn earlier this year - will raise funds for charity CRESS UK and, through them, will support the people of the Diocese of Liwolo.

You do not have to attend one of our churches or schools to donate to the Harvest Appeal; anyone can help. More details of how to do so are at the end of the story.

There is a video message, available here on the Diocesan YouTube channel, in which Bishop Philip calls for a ‘generous’ response from parishes, schools and people across Lancashire to a cause close to his heart. See Notes to Editors for the full video script which can be reproduced in whole or part.

The route for the 100k walk will follow various canals across the County. It will begin on the evening of September 15 from Yealand Conyers onward to Borwick, then Carnforth, Torrisholme and then Lancaster.

Day 2 will take in Galgate, Forton, Garstang, Woodplumpton and finishing at Preston while day 3 will see the Bishop and Rev. Sam worshipping at Ribbleton Parish Church in the morning before traversing towards East Lancashire from Preston through Bamber Bridge, Feniscowles and arriving at Blackburn Cathedral at 4pm for Evensong.

Speaking recently on BBC Radio Lancashire, Bishop Philip discussed the trek and the cause he is raising money for.

He said: “The more I spoke to Bishop Joseph at the Lambeth Conference, the more I realised his vision is for a nation rebuilt with Christ at its heart. I also began to see the possibility of a friendship link between our Diocese and the Diocese of Liwolo.

“Friendship links are quite difficult to arrange, so I was delighted to hear about a small English charity called CRESS UK that is present on the ground in the refugee camps in Uganda, offering real practical support as people try to rebuild their shattered lives.”

Bishop Philip continued: “We are encouraging parishes and schools across the diocese to support this year’s appeal. People have been monumentally generous in the past and I’m sure they will be particularly generous this year.

“For the fundraising trek, we want to follow the canals because they are such an historic part of Lancashire. We will start on the Friday in the very north, where the Lancaster Canal enters the County, and end at the Cathedral two days later, stopping at villages and towns on the way.”

  • For the full extended interview on BBC Radio Lancashire, you can listen here from 2h 06m 30s
  • People are welcome to join the Bishop and his chaplain on their trek as they pass through local areas but – be warned – the pace will be very quick!
  • Visit our Harvest Appeal page here to read even more about this year’s appeal.

Making a donation …

  • Donate online using a debit or credit card by clicking here. (select 'One-Off Gift and add Gift Aid if appropriate).
  • Donate by cheque, payable to 'Blackburn Diocesan Board of Finance Limited (Diocese Harvest Appeal)' and send to Blackburn Diocesan Board of Finance, Diocesan Office, Clayton House, Walker Office Park, Blackburn, BB1 2QE.
  • A QR code to enable donations is also available on the Harvest Appeal page linked to above.



Ronnie Semley, September 2023