The Bank Holiday at the end of May brings one of the highlights of the year for our Right To Life campaigners in Liverpool Archdiocese – the annual sponsored walk in the picturesque Ribble Valley.
Scheduled for Monday 29 May, the eight-mile circular walk will start and finish, just as in previous years, at Saint Michael and Saint John's parish church in Clitheroe. Walkers are invited to congregate in the car park behind the church at 12.30pm for the pre-walk speeches ahead of a 1pm start – and they should know the terrain can be muddy in parts so suitable footwear is required.
We are very grateful to Archbishop Emeritus Patrick Kelly, Bishop John Arnold of Salford, and Lord Alton of Liverpool who will walk with us once again. If you are unable to participate in the walk, perhaps you would consider sponsoring one of these special guests and, if so, please let us know.
As in past years, the event will be expertly marshalled throughout, with refreshments provided during the walk and at the end. This is always a joyful occasion, though booking is important in order to facilitate the catering arrangements. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 07545 118743 for booking and sponsor forms, or if you need any further information.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the passing of the 1967 Abortion Act, so the 2017 sponsored walk holds extra significance. While Right To Life will continue to do its utmost to protect the unborn child (and all vulnerable life from conception to natural death), abortion providers and pro-abortion lobby groups will mark the anniversary with a series of events (already under way) to push for abortion on demand, and for any reason, up to birth. Diana Johnson MP tabled her ten-minute rule bill on 13 March to decriminalise abortion. She received Commons approval by 173-143 to proceed to a second reading – a 30-vote majority caused by insufficient opposition from MPs. This was notionally to take place on 24 March, but has now been pushed back to 12 May.
To highlight the tragic toll of over 8.5 million babies aborted since 1967, Right To Life has prepared a series of projects to counter the very determined anti-life efforts. Every pound of the money donated to Right To Life is used effectively, but the number of projects planned to mark the anniversary demands considerable financial resources. Right To Life seldom asks for money but to ensure sufficient financial support, the charity launched the Phyllis Bowman Annual Appeal at the start of this year.
As many of you will remember, the founder of Right To Life was Phyllis Bowman, who died in 2012. She worked tirelessly for decades, with MPs and peers, despite her appallingly bad health. Such was her dedication to her work that she persuaded her husband Jerry to devise a system whereby her oxygen tubing was extended so it was long enough to reach her house office and thus enable her to have the many hours of daily oxygen that she required. She worked often late into the night and only days before she died, she was dictating letters to MPs and peers from her hospital bed.
Right To Life and the Pro-Life Research Unit continue her vital work and any help that you can offer will be greatly appreciated – and not least your prayers for the success of our sponsored walk and the cause behind it.
• The address for St Michael and St John’s is Lowergate, Clitheroe, BB7 1AG