Leicester, Loughborough and Oakham

Local faith group undertakes pilgrimage to raise awareness about the climate emergency


A group of Quakers from Leicester have taken part in a 17-mile pilgrimage from Leicester to Loughborough to raise awareness about the climate emergency in the run-up to COP26.


The pilgrimage was part of a national event, with local faith groups walking in a relay across the UK to Glasgow where the COP26 UN climate talks will be held this November.


Leicester Quakers undertook the walk to spread the word about the climate crisis and to put pressure on local, national and international leaders to prioritise the environment.


Fran Hewett, one of the coordinators of the event, said, ‘As Quakers we believe in the values of justice, simplicity, truth, equality and peace – values which we try to put into action in every aspect of our lives. We feel a passionate responsibility to care for our environment, and want to do as much as we can to make our society a fairer and healthier place for everyone’.


Anne Fishenden, another organiser of the pilgrimage, added, ‘As Quakers we try to spread the message that climate change affects us all but especially those in the global south where food supply and infrastructure are the most vulnerable. For this reason we have a strong commitment to climate justice, supporting migrants and asylum seekers and pursuing a new world economy based on human values not just money’.


The pilgrims braved a day of heavy rain and wind to walk the 17 miles from Leicester Quaker Meeting House to Loughborough on Saturday 2nd October, stopping off at several points along the route to hold silent vigils in the style of Quaker worship. The pilgrims chatted with members of the public along the way, explaining more about the Quaker response to the climate crisis.


Commenting afterwards on the success of the pilgrimage, Mariette Clare, one of the coordinators who helped to plan the route, remarked, ‘Despite the rain, we felt spiritually strengthened by the beauty we have walked through, perhaps especially the wonderful restoration of the eco-systems around the canal, River Soar, and Watermead Park. The hedgerows laden with hips, haws, elder and sloe spoke of the resilience required in bearing witness to the need to mend our ways, and the world.   We hope to continue to press the power-brokers of COP26 to make the radical decisions that alone can deliver justice for all and repair the damaged earth. Maybe this way humanity can fulfil the prophecy of Isaiah: you will go out in joy and be led forth in peace and the hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. 55.12’.