Wigan volunteer's virtual journey will help others travel to Lourdes

A charity volunteer is putting in the miles to help people with disabilities and illnesses make a pilgrimage to Lourdes.

Monday, 3rd May 2021, 7:00 am

Josephine Tingle, from Higher Ince, is an ambassador for Across, which provides transport and support for people with special care needs to enable them to visit the French town.

Her latest fund-raiser for the charity is a virtual journey from Wigan to Lourdes, which will is 1,630km.

Josephine, 38, will cover some of the distance in her wheelchair, while other people can walk to contribute towards the mileage.

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Josephine Tingle

She said: “This mission was inspired by the team from the head office in Stansted. They did a virtual walk from Stansted Airport to Lourdes. I was talking to my colleague about doing some fund-raising and she was telling me about the virtual walk. That switched a light on in my head, like a light-bulb moment.

“I decided to do one better and do Wigan to Lourdes by wheels with back-up and that’s what the mission is called.”

The challenge started on Saturday and Josephine hopes the team will reach Lourdes at 9am on December 8.

She is aiming to complete 10km each day. So far eight people have agreed to join her and she is still looking for anyone who wants to get involved.

Josephine said: “Every time somebody covers a distance, it will be taken off the 1,630km. Different people will cover different distances and some will cover more on some days than other.”

Josephine is hoping to raise around £3,000 for Across, which will help to keep the charity’s jumbalance on the road.

This is a large coach converted into an ambulance to cater for the needs of people with disabilities, illnesses or receiving palliative care - known as VIPs on the trips.

Josephine said: “I am really excited about doing this. It’s such a vital charity and the work that they do is so amazing. When you go on trips, you have doctors on-board, you have nurses on-board, you have carers on-board.

“Not only is there a very big spiritual side to the trips for the people who want it, but you also have a really good time - you have a really good holiday as well.

“It’s a fantastic environment. Everybody is so loving and so lovely, they treat you like family.”

Josephine, who attends St John’s Church in Wigan, has been on several trips with Across, but has also visited Lourdes hundreds of times over the years.

“The experience is one you don’t want to miss,” she said.

She hopes her fund-raising will make a big difference for the charity, which has been affected financially by the coronavirus pandemic and forced to cancel its trips.

Josephine said: “I do a lot of different fund-raising for Across, crazy things really. During the first lockdown, when they said people could go out every day for exercise, I did a sponsored wheelchair trek where I left my home, I went for two miles and then turned round and came back. I raised over £1,580.

“I have done cake sales, I have made teddy bears, I have done all sorts.”

To join Josephine’s challenge, call her on 07904 317873.

Donations can be made at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/josephine-tingle1

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