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Last Updated: Friday, 17 August 2007, 12:07 GMT 13:07 UK
Pilgrims' progress for cyclists
Canterbury Cathedral
The cathedral launched a 50m repair fund appeal in 2006
A group of cyclists is following in the footsteps of ancient pilgrims to raise funds for Canterbury Cathedral.

The team of 27 riders, aged between 16 and 64, are travelling the historic 1,200 mile "Via Francigena" pilgrimage from Canterbury to Rome.

The trip, which cuts through France and Switzerland, is expected to take the group about 16 days.

The cyclists each hope to raise at least 50,000 for the Save Canterbury Cathedral fund and other charities.

The pilgrimage route was first recorded by Archbishop of Canterbury, Sigeric, in 990AD.

It is a daunting task - 75 miles per day is not for the faint-hearted
Canon Edward Condry
Canterbury City Council chief executive Colin Carmichael and Canon Edward Condry are among the riders making the trip.

Mr Carmichael said: "This is the trip of a lifetime and in an excellent cause.

"I'm particularly pleased that we'll be following in the footsteps of the ancient pilgrims and starting our route in the grounds of England's premier cathedral."

Canon Edward Condry said: "It is a daunting task - 75 miles per day is not for the faint-hearted and the very real prospect of encountering snow on the Grand Bernard Pass even in August will be a real challenge for us all.

"Despite the conditions and great distances we need to cover everyday, the worthy causes we will be raising funds for will spur us on."

Canterbury Cathedral launched a 50m appeal in 2006 to repair leaking roofs and crumbling mortar. It has currently raised 7m.

In May part of the cathedral's 12th Century stained glass South Oculus window was removed and new stones placed in the South East Transept and the Corona as part of the first phase of repairs.


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