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NFU members Meryl Ward and Rosie James raise £13,500 for agricultural chaplain of 25 years Reverend Alan Robson with The Viking Way Challenge

Two friends have walked across three counties to save the future of an agricultural chaplain.

NFU members Meryl Ward and Rosie James set out on a mission to raise vital funds for their rural community by taking on the Viking Way challenge.

Starting from the Humber Bridge and finishing in Oakham, in Rutland, the 149-mile trek was completed by the duo in just over 11 days.

The pair raised more than £13,500 for the cause
The pair raised more than £13,500 for the cause

The Viking Way walking route through Lincolnshire, Leicestershire and Rutland opened in 1976 and its name recognises the influence of Norse invaders on the east of Britain.

More than £13,500 was drummed up between them, which will go towards securing the future of chaplaincy and the services of agricultural chaplain The Reverend Alan Robson.

“Alan has provided 25 years of chaplaincy support to the Lincolnshire rural community on his own,” Meryl said.

“Over that time, he has helped around 1,000 people going through tough times, and in the past year, he has supported more than 70 people and families.

She hopes that the money would help towards getting the Reverend Robson a part-time colleague to support the work he does.

“The role is solely funded by The Methodist Church and is not guaranteed,” she added.

“People are genuinely in awe of Alan’s achievements and he exemplifies what chaplains do best - they go where others can’t helping save lives and livelihoods.”

The pair were joined on sections of the walk by their own horde of family, friends and rural organisations including Lincolnshire NFU county adviser Rhonda Thompson.

“Maintaining this valuable service is essential as an agricultural chaplain can just call in to see those who may be bravely struggling without having to be referred,” said Rhonda.

“For me, it was a tiring day but well worth it and I am so pleased I could add my support to what they are doing.

“I must say it was also great to be out and about in the countryside, which has been shaped by generations of food-producing farming families from Lincolnshire, Leicestershire and Rutland.”

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