The Hereward Challenge - June 2/3 2016
At 4 O'clock in the morning on the 2nd of June this year (2016) I will be banging on the door of Peterborough Cathedral mimicking the actions of the Fenlands very own folklore hero Hereward the Wake 946 years previously - when he requested that the monks of Peterborough Monastery should allow him and his 'band of men' access. The monks declined and being rather miffed Hereward burned down all the houses in Peterborough and the outer perimeter buildings of the monastery before crashing in and making off with a hoard of gold and silver to Ely by ship, to make his famous stand against William the Conqueror. It became one of the legendary stories in British history...
I shall be doing no such burning and I have no ship, so I have to walk this distance along the Hereward Way that cuts across the vast open fen. That is the Hereward Challenge, can you do it? As it is 42 miles and I wanted to live to tell the tale I have split the journey across two days:
June 2nd Peterborough Cathedral 4am (Hereward attacked just before first light).
Arrive March Town Hall 12 Noon.
June 3rd March Town Hall 6am
Arrive Ely Cathedral 2pm
I seek your support
500 people pledging £1 each is what I seek.
£500 will be sufficient funds to take to the relevant authorities and organisations as a healthy gesture and as a show of like-minded people, to respectfully seek their co-operation to find ways to commemorate Hereward, on plaque and/or tourist noticeboard.
I am in the process of a consultation period, seeking advice, evaluating opinion and analysing on how best to proceed with a project, the WakeHereward Project, designed to raise the profile of the folklore hero from the Fenlands for the edification and enjoyment of all.
There appears to be a common consensus that Hereward is undervalued in the Fenlands and that there is welcome room for a project working towards the cause of raising his profile. I feel it is imperative to begin in a small way, taking small steps and nurturing an organic growth.
I feel that if we can begin by raising some money towards Tourist Information boards / Public notices / Plaques, for Peterborough and Ely then we could further plan 'what next'?
Please help to raise the profile of England's forgotten hero:
For this sponsored walk I have already received support, gratefully accepted, from people who have offered to be adjudicators/co-ordinators for the Hereward Challenge on June 2nd.
Mark Coney from the Spotted in Ely website will be the overseer. Confirming the proper completion of the route and the finish at Ely as well as signatory witness to funds received. Already he has garnered interest from the very highest circles in Ely.
Likewise, Elizabeth Parkins who runs the NorthCambsDiary Twitter feed has kindly offered to adjudicate/co-ordinate the Peterborough end and has met with a warm response from the Tourist Information Centre at Peterborough.
I have also asked a former college colleague Ilona Smith, who now lives in Ely, to be a signatory on completion, as well as a signatory witness to funds received, she has kindly said she would.
I would also like to hear from two more people to act as adjudicators. One from south Lincolnshire so that Hereward's 'home' area in the Fenlands is represented and another from March, which is the halfway point on the journey.
This money will be a major contribution in finding Hereward a 'yard of turf' where we can place some information whereby all can relive his tales. One of the great romantic 'footnotes' in our history.
Any advice from ramblers and hikers will be gratefully received and if any care to join me then you will be most welcome.
Further information, the route and images will be added in due course.