An Island priest has completed a 26-mile charity walk to celebrate his 40th birthday and raise money for his village in Western Cameroon.
Fr Elijah Fru Nde, is the Assistant Priest at St Saviour’s Totland and St Thomas of Canterbury, Newport and decided to do the walk on Tuesday (September 15) the day before his 40th birthday.
He explained: “As a priest I know the importance of the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt into the Promised Land and the 40 days they spent in the desert. For me, becoming 40 means I’m entering a new part in my life, and, as I leave my 30’s behind me, I wanted to reflect that with this walk.”
Fr Elijah has raised around £2,000 from the walk which will go towards his home village of Mankon, Bamenda which was burnt down earlier in the year by French military who want to recolonise the area.
Parishioners have already raised £2,000 to help sink a well in the village and this extra money is being spent on solar panels to power it.
The walk followed the Walk the Wight route starting at the Yarborough Monument following the Bembridge Trail and then taking the Tennyson trail to Tennyson Monument before finishing at St Saviour’s Church.
Fr Elijah added: “I was joined by five parishioners at the start of the walk at 8am and we had a car following us to give us water and energy drinks at specific points. Along the way we were cheered on by other parishioners, including my Parish Priest Fr Emmanuel Odoemene, who came out to give us a wave and add their support. At lunch we stopped off at the Verbum Dei Retreat Centre, Carisbrooke, and the nuns put on a lovely spread of tea, sandwiches and cake for us. It was very much appreciated. After that, we finally arrived at St Saviour’s at 6.15pm where there was a finishing line tape for me which I ran towards to end a memorable day.
“I was very emotional at the finish and want to thank all the people who walked with me and so many others who helped, supported and sponsored me.”
Fr Elijah has been at St Saviour’s for a year but will leave the Island on October 5 when he will return to Portsmouth Cathedral to assist there.