Welwyn reverend cycles to Rome in aid of Syrian refugees

PUBLISHED: 09:28 30 August 2018 | UPDATED: 09:28 30 August 2018

Rev. Dr. David Munchin is doing a charity cycle ride to Rome. Picture: Danny Loo

Rev. Dr. David Munchin is doing a charity cycle ride to Rome. Picture: Danny Loo

Archant

A Welwyn clergyman is swapping his cassock for sportswear in a 1,700-mile charity bike ride to Italy.

Once every 12 years of service, church leaders get a sabbatical of a three month study period away from their flocks, and Reverend Dr David Munchin has decided to go to the Anglican Centre in Rome.

The only catch, as he put it, is: “there’s a bit of a ride before I get there”.

An experienced cyclist, the reverend of Welwyn St Mary’s Church is planning on doing the entire 1,700-mile journey on his bike, in aid of Herts Welcomes Syrian Refugees.

It’ll be his longest trip yet, and he estimates it’ll take a month, passing by Canterbury Cathedral “in time for Evensong” along the way.

He has previously cycled the 1,000 miles from Land’s End to John O’Groats for charity, when he was accompanied by his wife by car.

But this time he’s doing the trip alone.

“I’m not really fazed by the distance,” said the reverend.

He’s travelling light on his Felt Z4 road bike, equipped just with a couple of travel bags.

In fact, he said the biggest challenge is washing and drying his clothes on the road. “I wish I had a weightless, portable washer-dryer!” he said.

His fundraising target is around £2,500.

He spoke about why he is so keen to help Syrians in Hertfordshire, saying the situation in Syria has “imploded”.

“For people who have come from there, it would be good to look after them,” he said.

He estimates that together with colleagues he’s raised around £15,000 for the charity over the years, although this becomes more like £60,000 if you count match funding pledges.

As for his flock and his colleagues in Welwyn St Mary’s, he said: “They’re really behind me,” joking that they’ll probably be pleased he’s gone for a bit. “Colleagues will be looking after the place and people have been wishing me well.”

Rev. Munchin sets off on September 2, and except a couple of deviations will be following an old pilgrim route trodden by the Christian faithful since at least AD 990.

He will be blogging about his experience on Facebook and on the Welwyn St Mary’s website.

You can support his fundraising efforts here: https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/revdavidmunchin

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