Group leader: Robin Dorkings

Last year, an enews came out requesting for anyone living near Reading to get in touch with me if they were interested in getting together with other members in the area.  After receiving a number of positive responses I mailed everyone to ask what days of the week and timings suited them and what activities would be of interest (the top 2 were local walks and talks from local Reading historians).

We had a first informal get together (I don’t call them meetings) over tea/coffee and biscuits, talked about our backgrounds and Camino experiences and agreed that our first outing would be a local walk.  The meeting was on a Saturday morning in St James church in Reading.  We are lucky in having a Camino supporter in Fr John O'Shea from the church who lets us use the church meeting room free of charge.

Our first outing was a 3 hour local walk in January 2020 taking in 2 St James’ churches followed by a pub lunch.  18 people came along.  It’s important to add that the invitation to the walk went out to non-members as well, anybody that local members knew who wanted to come along.  We had around 5 non members.  

I would like to organise a tour of the Reading Abbey ruins (now restored and a growing local attraction), Reading Museum and other local sites, followed by a talk on the history of Reading Abbey and the Hand of St James.  We are lucky in having a number of professional and amateur historians willing to give talks. 

A local member of the group has also offered to organise a walk in her locality, so the pot is boiling nicely.  

I have 30 people on the list now, incl non members. 

My recommendation is to keep things informal, solicit input from the group members and encourage them to communicate amongst themselves. 

Shared with Sussex and Wessex Groups: There will be a walk around the mediaeval churches within and including the Roman walls of Chichester, led by Peter FitzGerald on Wednesday, October 14th. Meet on North side of Chichester railway station at 11am. This will be the first meeting of the newly formed Sussex CSJ group. Please check with Rosie Slough, Sussex Group, 01273 461451, at the end of September or early October to be sure the event will be going ahead. Rosie also plans a visit to the priory ruins in Lewes (weather permitting), followed by Christmas lunch on Sunday, December 6th. Please contact Rosie for further details.

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