About us Who we are Our History The CSJ was first started by six men and women in 1983, all of whom shared a passion for the Camino de Santiago and took it upon themselves to educate the British public about the extraordinary but little-known Way of St James. Rob, Mary, Jocelyn, Ian, Pat and Peter quickly began to recruit others to their cause and link up with academics and pilgrimage experts across Europe to bring more attention to the Camino in the UK. Similar in both mission and operation to the French Confrèries de Saint-Jacques and the Spanish Cofradías de Santiago, we were named the Confraternity of St James. At that time, the CSJ was the only UK body offering either practical or educational information on the various pilgrim roads to Santiago. Our volunteers wrote guidebooks, published research papers, held talks and conferences and began to create a small community of British Camino pilgrims. We also became the only place in the UK where Camino pilgrims could get an accredited pilgrim credencial - an accolade that's still the case today. In 1991, the members of the CSJ UK opened our first pilgrim hostel (albergue) in Rabanal del Camino on the Camino Francés. In 2010, we opened our second in Miraz on the Camino del Norte. Every year since, we have sent our own trained members to provide welcome and hospitality to pilgrims currently on their caminos! Refugio Gaucelmo at Rabanal del Camino Nowadays, the CSJ is a registered charity with an office, bookshop and library, a small staff, a fresh generation of volunteers and around 1,500 members around the world, continuing in the original mission of the founding six! Our trustees Chair - Robin Dorkings I have been an office volunteer since 2003, and spent 2 weeks in Santiago in 2013 as an “Amigo.” I have walked several caminos to date and hope to do more in the future. I have been a trustee since the 2015 AGM. Vice Chair - Priscilla White I joined the CSJ in 1992 before walking the Camino Frances from Le Puy-en-Velay to Santiago. Subsequently, I have walked along the Camino del Norte and the Via de la Plata. I am now the Chair of the Miraz Committee, having volunteered as hospitalera for many years. I have been involved with the organisation of the AGM, and the Camino, Miraz and the CSJ are a huge part of my life. Company Secretary - Tony Ward I became a member whilst on a long-term pilgrimage from St Neot (Cornwall) to Santiago, which took 8 years in fortnightly slots. I was appointed Treasurer in 2004 and have continued in that role ever since. I have actively supported the activities of the CSJ over the years, including several spells as hospitalero at Miraz. Treasurer - Helen Robinson Helen is a chartered accountant, having training with global accounting firm Grant Thornton, supporting local government, not for profit and commercial organisations, most recently based in Madrid. Outside of work Helen is passionate about travel and positively impacting local communities in the process. Walking her first Camino de Santiago in 2019 had a hugely positive impact on her life and since has been passionate about promoting and encouraging others to experience its magic. Arthur Chapman I have been a member of CSJ since 2011 and have walked the Camino Frances from Burgos, the Camino del Norte, the Camino Inglés, the Camino Portugués (from Lisbon) and the Primitivo. I have volunteered as hospitalero at Miraz for most years (since 2013). I hope to help promote the CSJ in Scotland and encourage people to walk the caminos. Catherine Davies I have been heavily involved with Refugio Gaucelmo at Rabanal along with my mother, Julie Davies, the hospitalero coordinator. I look forward to supporting the CSJ and its members. Mary Moseley I am enthusiastic walking pilgrim on Camino Francés, Via de la Plata, Camino Portugués. I help to organise major CSJ events. Clare Taylor As a busy professional, I was looking for something different that would be a great experience. I found the CSJ and the Camino de Santiago and was amazed by how it touched my life, and it has stayed with me in more ways than I can say. I have walked regularly and spent very happy times as a hospitalera in Rabanal. Now retired from full time work, with my deep passion for the Camino and all its gifts and of course for Spain, I have time to share this and support the Camino Pilgrim community of the CSJ. Sue Sargeant I have walked the Camino Francés and Camino Portugués, using help from the friendly volunteers at the CSJ. I am now a regular office volunteer and have been a speaker at Practical Pilgrim Days and Webinars. I also sit on the Publicity and Fundraising Committees for the CSJ. My career experience ranges from finance to safeguarding compliance to catering! Andy Bull I am an author and journalist and have published a guidebook for newbies, Pilgrim Pathways: 1-2 day walks on Britain’s Ancient Sacred Ways in 2020. I am now working with members of the Confraternity on The London to Walsingham Camino: A pilgrim guide, re-establishing what was Britain’s most important pilgrim route pre-Reformation. I also write on local history and general walking and travel topics. Away from work, I tend to two allotments, and strive for self-sufficiency in fruit and veg. Plans to walk the Camino Inglés were scuppered twice in 2021, but I hope to take my first steps in Spain in 2022. Our patrons The Most Reverend Stephen Cottrell, Archbishop of York A CSJ member since 2015 when he was serving as Bishop of Chelmsford, Stephen has walked the Camino twice as well as several pilgrim routes in England, including a walk from Durham to York with young people from his church group in 2002. Stephen has written about his Camino experiences in his book Striking Out, a collection of short stories and poems. For a fuller biography, click here. Fr Javier Aparicio Fr Javier Aparicio is former Prior of the community of Rabanal del Camino, where the CSJ runs its Refugio Gaucelmo on the Camino Francés. Fr Javier served for many years at the Monasterio San Salvador del Monte Irago, next door to our refuge, and has been a great friend to the CSJ and ambassador for pilgrimage to Santiago for many years. He now continues his work for the order of Saint Ottilien and their monasteries around the world. Andree Lombard Andree is the current Chairman of the Confraternity of St James of South Africa and is passionate about the Camino. She has walked many Caminos since 2005, including the Camino Francés, Camino Inglés, Via de la Plata, the Muxía circuit and the Voie du Puy. Andree has also served as an hospitalera and Santiago Pilgrim Office volunteer. Since 2006, she has run workshops for prospective pilgrims as well as training courses for hospitaleros/as. The Camino is very much part of her life. Now retired from corporate life, Andree volunteers at her local church serving as a lay minister, churchwarden and Treasurer. The Confraternity of St James of South Africa was formalised in 2006 and is here to serve pilgrims with practical assistance for them to walk the Camino. They issue pilgrim’s passports, sell guide books and badges etc. One of their major activities is to assist pilgrims obtain a Schengen Visa which South Africans require to walk the Camino. They also assist pilgrims from Namibia and other Southern African countries. They organise social events throughout the year, including St James Day celebrations, predominantly in Cape Town but also elsewhere nationally. An annual photo competition is held and the prize photographs used to produce a calendar. Camino Society Ireland Our counterpart organisation for the Republic of Ireland, Camino Society Ireland advise and support pilgrims looking to do the Camino. They have a centre in Dublin which pilgrims can visit to ask questions to their expert volunteers. And they run information events on the Camino in Spain, Portugal, France as well as Ireland itself (the Celtic Camino), including talks, walks and festivals. They have their own Pilgrim Passport and online shop which you can visit by clicking here.