Student Cross is a Christian pilgrimage organised
by and for students, young adults, and pilgrims of all ages, which
began in 1948. Pilgrims experience Holy Week and the
joy of the Resurrection as a living reality. It's a chance to
celebrate Easter in a unique way.
Eleven different groups, known as Legs,
walk from different parts of the country across Norfolk to
Walsingham. Kind-hearted parishes provide food and accommodation
along the way. Each Leg carries a large wooden cross as a witness to
the people they pass.
The climax of the week is in
Walsingham, a centre of pilgrimage for many centuries. This is where
all the Legs meet up to celebrate the Easter liturgies together over
the Easter weekend, including a vibrant Paschal Party after the
Easter vigil on Saturday evening.
Facts and figures
Student Cross first started
walking from London to Walsingham in 1948. It was originally a
male-only Catholic pilgrimage and pilgrims had to carry all of
Northern Leg started in 1949,
leaving from Nottingham. Since then, Oxford (1962), Midland
(1971), Essex (1972) and Kettering (1975) were also
founded, walking for the full week
Ely Leg started in 1996. It
walks for three days from Wednesday
Two family groups - Peg and
Wells (2006) - meet up on the evening of Palm Sunday, for 5 days
of short, all-age walks from one residential base.
One leg for families with
older children of secondary school age - Wensum (2012) walks shorter distances of no more than 10 miles
per day over 5 days.
Easter Leg walks one day only on
Women officially started walking
in 1966, though, previously, there had been many occasions when
they helped carry the cross while 'stronger' men recovered from
their blisters and other ailments.
Christians of other
denominations started walking Student Cross in the 1960s.
Although Student Cross is still predominantly Catholic, scores
of felllow Christians have walked and continue to take part in
Well known people to have walked
Student Cross include novelist David Lodge, Bishop Emeritus of
Portsmouth Rt Rev Crispian Hollis, and Big Brother 2006 winner
Pete Bennett (albeit as a child).
The Archbishop of
Liverpool, Rt Rev Malcolm McMahon, is one of the patrons of the
Student Cross Association, which supports pilgrims.