Southern Schools’ Quaker Pilgrimage 2009

In late September, Jane Chittick, Katherine Mills and Tory Lawson, from Friends’ School Lisburn ventured to England to take part in a Quaker Pilgrimage called ‘The Foxtrot’. Four other Quaker schools; Sibford, Sidcot, Leighton Park and Friends’ School Saffron Walden, also participated. Tory Lawson gives her account of the expedition ….

When I was invited along with Jane Chittick and Katherine Mills to participate in a ‘pilgrimage’, particularly one called the ‘foxtrot’ I wondered what it was all about. ‘Pilgrimage’ has associations of pious holiness, hooded monks winding their way up hills and so on….and this is certainly (to my relief) not what happened! We learnt about the extraordinary and turbulent events which led to George Fox founding the Early Quaker movement in 1652. ‘Foxtrot’ is just a nickname for the ‘Pilgrimage’ based upon our travelling around the region of the Northwest of England ‘in the footsteps’ of George Fox. We visited significant places and buildings such as Pendle Hill, Firbank Fell and Swarthmoor Meeting House. At these places historical events involving George Fox took place and have subsequently inspired successive generations of Friends from all over the world.

On the trip we met up with 16 other students representing all southern Quaker schools. For four days we travelled together, shared the cooking, mealtimes, duties, free time, walks, talks and meetings of worship. Throughout the trip a great sense of fellowship was generated and many happy memories were brought back. Friends were quickly made and we have already made plans to meet up again! All of us had a fascinating and moving experience and will never ever forget it.