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Mission Accomplished on South West Coast Path

Our friend and adviser IAN CAMPBELL has just completed the UK’s 631-mile South West Coast Path, fundraising for his work and ours. Just after crossing the finishing line - and just before a well-deserved meal with friends - Jake phoned to congratulate him... What you’ve just done is phenomenal – congratulations! How are your legs? My legs are in good shape. My hips are not – but they’ll recover. My feet are somewhere in between! What’s surprised you about the walk? The discipline required to get over the next hill when you’ve done twenty-three miles and you’ve got another five to go: it's not the body, it’s the head. But the support from my wife Alison (pictured above), the people I’ve met, and people like you have helped me along the way – we’ve done this together. It’s all been an experience of God’s grace. What do you think your lasting impression of the walk will be? The nature, coastline and weather have been stupendous. But the thing that knits it all together has been the people I’ve met along the path who’ve told me their stories. It became a shared journey with them. What did you learn from them? Lots of things - they love their pet dogs for a start! But I also learned about the transition going on in UK coastal towns – especially pretty ones – where rich people buy second homes but don’t spend much time there. Local people feel the impact of this intensely and are desperate for a sense of community and conversation. I imagine they were interested in your work then – of generating community conversations in other parts of the world? Yeah, some people were intensely interested in SALT, because it’s a way to build local connections. And they also got to see that the challenges they face are often quite similar to people in Sierra Leone or China or Kenya. So I think they felt a connection to people in other parts of the world, who they might otherwise see as having very different lives. You’ve been recording the words to a book while you walk. How’s it been going? Good! Each day I’ve reflected on a theme of my work over thirty years. For example, reconciliation was a key part of our work in Rwanda, and it’s become a big theme of work in UK inner cities too. So I wanted to link the learning from one with the other. It'll be a similar format for each chapter. My hope is that this could become an interesting and provocative book for people working in health or development, or people exploring faith as well. I can hear that your food has arrived - go and enjoy it! Thanks for speaking with us. It’s not too late to sponsor Ian – you can do so here.


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