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Page last updated at 11:30 GMT, Wednesday, 15 September 2010 12:30 UK
Tees pilgrims go to see the Pope

Pope Benedict XVI will visit England and Scotland from 16 - 19 September 2010.

For many Catholics in the UK it will be their one and only chance to see the Pope in real life.

During the four day visit, the Pope will visit Scotland, where he will be received by Her Majesty The Queen, and then London and Birmingham.

BBC Tees spoke to the pilgrims about the forthcoming trip to find out why they're making the journey.

Father Derek Turnham

I'm 58-years-old, and am based at St Joseph's in Stokesley.

I'm a Catholic convert, it took 20 years for me to make up my mind. I converted because of a growing conviction Catholicism was the right religion. I was previously a Church of England vicar so I lost both my home and job when I made the move.

I couldn't imagine life without my faith - every aspect of life springs from it.

Father Derek Turnham
Father Derek Turnham will see the Pope in Birmingham

I went to see the previous Pope in 1982 in York. I thoroughly enjoyed it, it was uplifting.

I've been to an audience with the Pope in Rome and seen him quite close too. The fact the Pope is coming to this country makes me excited about being at an event where he'll be present.

I am going to the beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman in Birmingham. Newman has been important in my life as he was also a Catholic Convert.

Dr Jim Whiston

I'm 73-years-old, and attend St Osmunds Church in Gainford.

Dr Jim Whiston
Dr Jim Whiston hopes his faith will be strengthened

I was born a Catholic and faith has been key part of my life since I was a child.

I am going to see the Pope at Westminster Hall, because I want to see him face-to-face.

I want to see what message the Pope is giving to Britain.

I hope that the visit will give me a stronger faith.

Fiona Moffat

I'm 27-years-old and go to St Josephs Church in Linthorpe.

I was born into a Catholic Family. My grandparents lived with us so we had a very Catholic feel to the family.

Fiona Moffat
Fiona Moffat is taking a group of young people to see the Pope

My faith is part of my everyday life, the way I live my life. It helps when times are hard to turn to God and ask for help and find comfort.

I am taking a group of young people to see the Pope. I am very excited. To be able to listen to him and hear what he has to say in close proximity will be an excellent experience, to be given the opportunity to join with a large group of Catholics who have been on that faith journey.

I'm hoping that the experience will show me that faith is still an important part of people's lives.

We've got to be open to change. I the visit will change me, I'm not sure in what way but I hope it will.

Paul Bowen

I am 61-years-old, and attend St Mary's Cathedral in Coulby Newham.

I was born into the faith, I rebelled against and came back to it.

 Paul Bowen
Paul Bowen rebelled against his religion but has come back to it

My faith is built deep in. I believe in life after death, that there's a greater being. If I work towards it I hope I should achieve it. I've been touched by faith guiding me at several points in my life.

I've been to Rome a few times but I couldn't get to see Pope John Paul II in 1982 when he visited England. The Pope is the leader of my faith so I think it is important to be part of the celebration.

I'm hoping to experience the warmth and coming together of so many people. I think the atmosphere should be electric, and I think the visit will have an effect on me later on.

Are you making the trip to see the Pope? Let us know by emailing us:

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SEE ALSO
How will Pope be received in UK?
01 Sep 10 |  Newsnight
Pope Benedict Birmingham visit
14 Jul 10 |  People & Places
Profile: Pope Benedict XVI
25 Dec 09 |  Europe

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