Rev-ved up vicar’s two wheel pilgrimage

Reverend Richard Jackson who is on a pilgrimage to churches across Sussex between June 17 and 24
Reverend Richard Jackson who is on a pilgrimage to churches across Sussex between June 17 and 24

A REV-VED up vicar is making a very special pilgrimage along the route of the Olympic Torch relay on board his ‘Holy’ Davidson motorbike.

Reverend Richard Jackson was due to arrive in St Leonards Parish Church at 12.15pm on Friday to spend an afternoon with parishioners in 1066 Country.

The 51-year-old set off from the village of Chithurst in West Sussex on Sunday on a mission to visit 44 parish churches across both counties in one week.

He was due to visit St Mark’s in Little Common, St Peter’s in Bexhill, St Leonards Parish Church, Emmanuel Church, St Clement and All Saints, both in Hastings, Christ Church in Ore and St Mary’s in Rye.

Sitting astride his deafening, 1300cc machine in bike leathers, Rev Jackson has been turning plenty of heads.

He has already been joined by former Hells Angels and members of the Christian Motorcyclists Association along the way.

The aim is to follow the route of the Olympic Torch through the county, meet and greet members of the parish and share prayers together.

At the end of each day, Rev Jackson rides back to his home in Haywards Heath.

His role within the Diocese is similar to a church consultant listening and engaging with parishes.

He came up with the idea for a two-wheel pilgrimage after buying his Harley Davidson on ebay and importing it from Florida last year.

“It was my mid-life crisis,” said Rev Jackson. “A couple of years earlier I told parishioners I had the right size tummy and amount of hair to do it.

“I passed my test in 1979 but hadn’t ridden a bike since 1980.

“My wife was not impressed though and she refuses to ride pillion.

“But I thought what a great way to engage with parishes across the county.

“Along the way I’ve been joined by former Hells Angels and members of the Christian Motorcyclists Association which has been great support. I’ve even had some elderly ladies asking me for a ride.

“It has been a very engaging and enlightening experience. Parishioners tell me about their concerns and worries and I will take them back to the Diocese.

“I am very much looking forward to visiting St Leonards, Hastings and Rye and sharing prayers with parishioners here.

“I do turn a few heads. I just love biking and I think it’s a great way to combine two great passions of mine.

“And if anyone wants to join me while I’m riding from church to church they are more than welcome.”