21 °CMon, 23

Andy follows in footsteps of St Patrick

Mairead Holland

Reporter:

Mairead Holland

Email:

mairead.holland@ulstergazette.co.uk

ARMAGH will be the starting point for a cross-border walk by a journalist who is aiming to raise money for homeless young people.

Andy Pollak, a former Irish Times religious affairs correspondent, will cover 150 miles, starting on Monday and finishing nine days later at Croagh Patrick.

The father-of-two will be following in the footsteps of St Patrick. The ‘pilgrimage’ will bring him from the home of Ireland’s patron saint to the mountain where St Patrick is said to have completed a forty-day Lenten ritual of fasting and penance and from where, legend has it, he banished snakes from Ireland

Andy will travel through Monaghan, Fermanagh, Cavan, Leitrim, Sligo and Mayo across hills and along back lanes and abandoned railway lines.

He will stop only for one day’s rest which he will spend with his wife Doireann in County Sligo.

Mr Pollak is a hill-walker with a particular love of walking through the Irish hills and countryside. He has worked for many years to build practical cross-border cooperation between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, and most of his annual long summer walks involve crossing the border.

The money Andy raises will go towards Belfast Central Mission (BCM) supported housing project that works to provide accommodation for 16 – 21 year olds. This includes a mix of emergency, leaving and aftercare, and homeless young people.

BCM is an agency of the Methodist Church. It was founded in 1889 by Rev Crawford Johnson as part of the church's response to problems inherent in inner-city life. The motivation was then, as now, to meet the needs of the whole person, spiritual, emotional, social and physical regardless of class, creed or ethnicity.

A couple of years ago, Andy Pollak  walked from Belfast to Dublin to raise money for BCM in Belfast and another homeless charity, St Vincent De Paul in Dublin.

Anyone wishing to donate money should visit the fundraising page: https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/andypollak1.

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