Glastonbury Pilgrimage cancelled
Published 14/04/2011 | 11:37
It is a problem St Joseph of Arimathea would not have had to think about, but soaring petrol prices are being blamed for the cancellation of one of the country's most well-known pilgrimages.
For centuries Glastonbury in Somerset has been one of Britain's most prominent religious sites, attracting thousands of pilgrims.
But this year, organisers of the official annual Anglican pilgrimage, which began in 1924, say it has been cancelled due to the financial strain it would have placed on pilgrims.
According to legend, Joseph of Arimathea, the uncle of the Virgin Mary, visited the site and even brought Jesus Christ to Somerset when he was a young boy.
The Anglican event, which took place in June last year, is organised by the Glastonbury Pilgrimage Association.
Association chairman and Bishop of Plymouth the Rt Rev John Ford said in a letter to pilgrims that it was "with some regret that I need to inform you of the cancellation of the 2011 Pilgrimage to Glastonbury".
He went on: "When the Pilgrimage Council met last week, it needed to consider the viability of this year's pilgrimage in the light of the association's financial position and the factors which will affect the number of pilgrims likely to attend the pilgrimage this year.
"We were conscious of the Walsingham Festival in Exeter Cathedral in May and of the further rise in fuel costs which makes a day out for families yet more expensive. The council decided, therefore, to cancel the pilgrimage for this year, and to consider our future plans at the annual general meeting."
The Mayor of Glastonbury, John Coles, said: "It's all very sad. I was shocked to hear the news. I had to notify the town council, as they didn't know about it, and they were dismayed and shocked, particularly some of the town councillors that have been born and bred in Glastonbury.
"The local traders for sure will be very disappointed as they do very well during the pilgrimage, and the local residents will be saddened as they all take part. It's really bad news for Glastonbury and I just hope this isn't the beginning of the end."