Sheringham pensioner Sean completes 80-mile walk on Spanish pilgrimage route
PUBLISHED: 09:46 19 November 2016 | UPDATED: 09:46 19 November 2016
Sheringham octogenarian Sean White proved the old adage ‘you are only as old as you feel’, when he not only walked a mile for every year of his age, but also raised more than £5,000 for charity into the bargain.
The grandfather of four, who celebrates his 81st birthday this year, achieved a long-held ambition when, a few weeks ago, he completed an 80-mile trek across the pilgrimage route of Camino de Santiago, in northern Spain.
Originally planning to fulfil his dream on the eve of his 70th birthday, Dublin-born Mr White was told by friends and family that the walk was “too much” for a man of his age.
But, on reaching 80, he decided it was ‘now or never’ and, in spite of having a pacemaker fitted and arthritis in his knees, he began mapping out a route, setting himself the added challenge of completing his walk in just six days.
“I didn’t want it to be just a jolly walk, I wanted it to be meaningful,” he explained.
A committed Roman Catholic, Mr White said his primary motivation for making the pilgrimage was “spiritual enhancement and renewal”, but, keen to give it added meaning, he decided to raise cash for Sheringham housing trust Stable Door, which he joined as a committee member in 2009.
Set up in 1993 by sisters Gillian and April Wilson, both of whom were made MBE for their charity efforts, the trust now has a portfolio of seven properties, which are let to needy local families.
Mr White, who, before retiring, was a national sales manager for Norwich-based insurance company Aviva, raised a total of £5,135, made up of small donations from family, friends, neighbours, fellow churchgoers and members of Holt Rotary Club, of which he is a former member.
“The support I have received has been a tremendous boost to the Stable Door and it has given us renewed confidence to be even more successful in our efforts to alleviate homelessness in our area in the future,” he said.
While he admitted walking 80 miles over rough terrain in six days was “difficult”, Mr White said he was never in any doubt he would complete the walk, which ended at the shrine of the apostle St James in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela,in Galicia, north western Spain.
“I’d be telling a lie if I said it was easy, but where there’s a will, there’s a way,” he said. “And although it is difficult at my age to commit, there are still other things I want to do – I haven’t finished yet.”