Personal Message from James Bagge

High Sheriff of Norfolk 2017-18

Norfolk has always had a special place in my heart and in 2017-18, I had the pleasure and privilege of serving as the High Sheriff of Norfolk.

The focus of my year was on celebrating volunteering across the county. I met some truly wonderful people and in particular become aware of the critical role of unpaid carers; those caring for loved ones, who perhaps don’t see themselves as volunteers and may not have felt that their caring was ever an active choice, but more something they needed to do.

Many of these carers go about their roles with little support for themselves and so I was inspired to raise awareness of the  invaluable role they play and raise funds to support and nurture those unpaid carers who themselves  give so much to others.

I thought to myself, what could I possibly do?

The answer was the birth of Walking4Norfolk and the first pilgrimage (though not my personal first – more of that another time) – walking 1500 miles on foot to the extraordinary Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Spain.

Making a Difference

In the Middle Ages, people would undertake pilgrimages as an act of celebration or a display of their dedication to a cause they truly believed in.

Taking inspiration from this, at the end of my year as High Sheriff  just before Easter 2018, I set forth on a ‘modern pilgrimage’ of my own to honour Norfolk and its vibrant community spirit.

Starting from my birthplace in Stradsett on 28th March, I walked the 1500 miles to Santiago de Compostela, which is located on the west coast of Spain. I arrived on June 29, ahead of schedule!

‘A journey of a thousand miles starts with one step’; a 1500 mile walk with a sense of trepidation! But I was rightly confident that with the support of members of the public including unpaid carers, carers’ organisations, friends, family and strangers who became part of my Walking4Norfolk family, each step I took raised awareness of and support for this worthy cause. You can follow me on Twitter and see all the conversations taking place there.

The target was £60,000 and at the last count on my fundraising page I have raised well over that to date. I am delighted to have the support of the Norfolk Community Foundation in administering the Walking4Norfolk Fund.

Join me in my commitment to continue raising money for Norfolk’s unsung heroes – the Carers!

Plans for my 2019 campaign are underway and more to follow.

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