Father Darren Percival and Parish Reader Lorraine Butterfield will be setting off from St. Hilda’s Church, Cross Green, in Leeds on Saturday 19th March on a ‘Walk for Ukraine’, raising money to help those affected by the current events.

We spoke to Lorraine ahead of this walk to find out more about how it came about. It started from a conversation with a Polish family who worship at the church, in a conversation with the dad following the donation of books.

“He asked me if we were doing anything for Ukraine and I started thinking about something that we could do. I suggested initially to donate one of the week’s collection to the Ukrainian Relief Fund, but we are a poor parish, so we decided on a walk for peace!

“Father Darren Percival suggested we could walk to Knaresborough – and I said: ‘you’re having a laugh aren’t you?’ – I don’t think our knees will take it! It’s a long way to Knaresborough.”

The pair eventually settled on a 11-mile walk to Bradford Cathedral.

“It had to be somewhere meaningful.”

Lorraine has a passion for walking and it’s not the first time she’s walked to raise money, and also regularly volunteers at RSPB Fairburn Ings which includes a lot of walking.

“I walked to Otley about three years ago. We had a grand piano donated but it was coming from near the Lake District. I offered to do a sponsored walk to Otley with my granddaughter to pay for its transport.

“I like to walk rather than use a car as it keeps you fit. In that respect I do enjoy it, but I wouldn’t say I could walk twenty miles or so regularly! I do enjoy the fresh air and the scenery.”

Father Darren and Lorraine will be heading off on Saturday morning, joined by one of the backers and Poppy the Dog. When they arrived 11-miles later at Bradford Cathedral they’ll be pausing for reflection and prayers in St. Aidan’s Chapel.

The walk is to raise money for Ukraine, and we asked Lorraine why it’s important to do this.

“You only have to watch the television. You can’t not do anything. It’s the least we can do, and those who wouldn’t be able to do such a walk can help us by sponsoring us.”

You can support the walk by heading to the event’s JustGiving page which has already smashed the initial target. Including off-line donations, they’ve so far raised over £1100.

Father Darren expands on why he’s doing it on the JustGiving page:

“We have all seen the devastating scenes, of what is happening in Ukraine at this moment. The community that I minister too, is one of the poorest in the UK, however, we have our freedom and democracy.

“The money raised will be sent to aid the relief effort, that is already taking place there. This will enable much-needed resources to be given to a people that, through no fault of their own, have been brought into a war that they should not be part of.”


We caught up with Lorraine Butterfield after the walk. “It went really well,” she told us, “and only took 3.5hrs!”

Felicity Greenfield, one of St. Hilda’s Churchwardens, was on hand to take some photos of the journey – and their arrival at Bradford Cathedral – which you can see above.

“We have raised over £1,500, though we’ll know better once the paperwork is in. The money is going to the Salvation Army, as they have feet on the ground both in Ukraine and Poland, so they will know what the main needs are.”

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