Islands’ Saint Being Celebrated With Pilgrimage Tomorrow

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It’s the annual pilgrimage to the uninhabited island of St Helen’s tomorrow (Saturday).

The island takes its name from a Christian hermit who founded a chapel there in the 8th-century. St Elidius’ Day is celebrated on 8th August each year.

A boat will depart from St Mary’s Quay at 2pm and it’s Canon Paul Miller’s third trip there.

There’ll be a service held in memory of the saint, but Paul says the trip will appeal to a wide range of people, not just those wanting a spiritual experience.

There are no regular tripper boats to St Helen’s so it’s a rare chance to explore the once-inhabited island where the saint’s remains are buried.

Paul says it’s a fascinating place, with the ruins of St Eidius’ hut and the former chapel that was expanded to a church by the community that lived there.

And he says the view of Round Island and the lighthouse from the top of the hill is also stunning.

Fans of author Michael Morpurgo might also be interested. It’s the setting for much of his latest book, ‘Listen to the Moon.’

Paul thinks the island should engage people of all ages. He took a party of children from the off-island school bases there last autumn and he says they had a fantastic day.

He says it also helped them to understand what a pilgrimage is and about making a journey to an important place.

Paul says it’s open to anyone, locals and visitors, and “the more the merrier.” He’s been talking with the off-island boat operators to see whether they can also put on a trip tomorrow.