Great-grandmother prepares for 500 mile pilgrimage

A great-grandmother is preparing to embark on a 500 mile pilgrimage through western Europe to raise money for a charity close to her heart.

Sylvia Hanna, pictured training near her home in South Cockerington earlier this week.

Sylvia Hanna, from South Cockerington, will take part in the ‘French Camino’ next month, which will see her walk from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port (in south-western France) all the way to Santiago de Compostela in the Galicia region of north-western Spain.

The pilgrimage is often referred to in English as ‘The Way Of Saint James’, as it leads to the shrine of the apostle Saint James the Great in the city’s cathedral.

Sylvia’s incredible challenge will begin on April 10, and will take around five weeks to complete – including 37 potential stops along the way.

Sylvia Hanna is preparing for her epic challenge

She is hoping to raise at least £2,000 in sponsorship and donations, with most of the proceeds going to the Parkinson’s UK charity, in memory of her last partner who died following a battle with Parkinson’s disease eight years ago.

The remaining funds will be donated to the local Parkinson’s group.

Sylvia told the Leader: “I decided to do the pilgrimage after me and my husband went on a Saga coach trip to Santiago de Compostela.

“It was so emotional there! It’s a beautiful region in northern Spain, with a big square and a beautiful cathedral that’s been there hundreds of years.”

Sylvia considers herself to be ‘fairly fit’ and enjoys regular walks and badminton every week - but the pilgrimage will be no mean feat, as she has arthritis in her spine and hips which is likely to cause discomfort along the way.

Sylvia would like to thank the local community for supporting her fundraising efforts, particularly Louth’s shops and three pubs which helped to collect money.

Visit to find out more and donate.