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Cathedral tour - all of them

02 November 2006

THEY VISITED all 42 English cathedrals in eight days. That was an average of five a day, and only about 25 minutes spent in each, says Tony Smith, 61, who planned the tour with his friend, John Hudson.

They travelled in a Peugeot motor home, hoping to raise awareness about the Make-A-Wish Foundation UK, a charity that grants wishes to children with life-threatening illnesses.

They started from Lincoln, escorted for the first few miles by the local Harley-Davidson bikers and the Lincs wing of the Honda GoldWing Club. Mr Smith tells me he had always wanted to see all the cathedrals, but even on this trip he missed out on one — Chester — where they could find no legal parking-place, and, just as he was making for the cathedral door, he saw a traffic warden looming, and had to sprint back.

He and Mr Hudson talked to many members of cathedral staff, and presented each cathedral with a copy of a poem specially commissioned by the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Disappointingly, the publicity that was supposed to accompany their visits broke down, as did Mr Smith’s hope that money would be raised by getting people to guess how many miles the pair would cover on their tour. “As nobody did try to guess, I can tell you,” he said. “It was 2010 miles.”

But he did get some sponsorship money, and he paid all the expenses of the tour himself. Mr Smith has worked for the charity for about nine years, and has helped a number of children’s wishes to come true.

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