Minister’s frontline walk in aid of soldiers

The Rev Paul Critchley taking part in a presentation in the "Brothers in Arms" project, which so moved him it was one of the reasons he has chosen to carry out The Frontline Walk in aid of ABF The Soldiers' charity.
The Rev Paul Critchley taking part in a presentation in the "Brothers in Arms" project, which so moved him it was one of the reasons he has chosen to carry out The Frontline Walk in aid of ABF The Soldiers' charity.

Spurred on by a 40th birthday challenge, a methodist minister aims to walk 100km in three days, raising thousands of pounds for a soldiers’ charity.

The Rev Paul Critchley, who is supertintendent minister for the North Fylde Circuit of the Methodist Church, will be stepping out in aid of ABF The Soldiers’ Charity in “The Frontline Walk” following in the footsteps of those who fought in the First World War along the Western Front and where major battles were fought.

Sponsorship of £4,000 has already been pledged and 40-year-old Paul, who is a father of three boys, says he is “absolutely amazed” to have received such support.

Paul says it was his wife Jo who challenged to take on something for his birthday after she was challenged by a friend who works for the soldiers’ charity to take part in the London Marathon for her 40th birthday, which she did successfully.

Saying he is no runner, but someone who enjoys walking, he had a think about it and after learning of the frontline walk due to take place in France of Belgium this October, decided it was something he would like to have a go at and has been training hard.

Also, besides being challenged by Jo, Paul describes the charity as doing fantastic work, providing a lifeline for veterans of the British army and their families in need and has been further spurred on through his involvement with an event called “Brothers in Arms” which he says holds a “special poignancy”.

He said: “This a joint project with Lancashire Methodist district and Blackburn Diocese which looks at the lives and service of Noel and Christopher and Shavasse. Noel served as a medic in World War 1 and is one of only three soldiers to be awarded the Victoria Cross twice and did not survive the war and is buried in Belgium. Chris was a chaplain who survived and went on to become Bishop of Rochester.”

Originally from Helsby, Cheshire, Paul was minister at Pilling Methodist Church for nine years until becoming the superintendent for the eight north Fylde Methodist churches of Pilling, Knott End, Poulton, Thornton, Anchorsholme, Cleveleys, Fleetwood and Bispham.

At Poulton Church he says they have just reinstated a memorial plaque to Geoffrey Potts who fell in WW1, after a member of the congregation carried out research. During the walk Paul hopes to visit his grave on behalf of the church and pay his respects.

Paul will be carrying out the walk in a group of 70 on October 6, 7 and 8 from Lochnagar Crater to the Menin Gate to hear The Last Post.

If anyone would like to sponsor Paul they may do so at justgiving.comcritchyboy76 or by writing a cheque to ABF The Soldiers’ Charity and sending it care of the Rev Paul Critchley, Poulton-le-Fylde Methodist Church, Queensway, Poulton, FY6 7ST.