Norfolk’s former High Sheriff part-way through walk across Europe for unpaid carers

PUBLISHED: 14:21 19 May 2018 | UPDATED: 14:21 19 May 2018

James Bagge on his 'Modern Pilgramage'. Picture: Anum Hussain

James Bagge on his 'Modern Pilgramage'. Picture: Anum Hussain

Anum Hussain

Norfolk’s former High Sheriff is 500 miles into a 1,500 mile walk to raise awareness for unpaid carers.

James Bagge on his 'Modern Pilgramage'. Picture: Anum HussainJames Bagge on his 'Modern Pilgramage'. Picture: Anum Hussain

James Bagge, 65 set off from King’s Lynn on March 28 to take part in a ‘Modern Pilgrimage’ to Santiago de Compostela in Spain, the centuries-old destination for pilgrims of many nationalities.

It began from his Stradsett home and goes via Weymouth, Mont Saint-Michel in France and the Pyrenees mountain range before ending at Santiago de Compostela on Spain’s west coast.

During his year as High Sheriff Mr Bagge focused on Norfolk volunteers and was noticed that unpaid carers in the county were going un-recognised and un-rewarded.

Mr Bagge wanted to raise money for unpaid carers across Norfolk, who range from young children to the elderly and who look after loved ones and go unrecognised.

James Bagge on his 'Modern Pilgramage'. Picture: Anum HussainJames Bagge on his 'Modern Pilgramage'. Picture: Anum Hussain

He hopes to raise £60,000 which will be donated to various carers’ groups by the Norfolk Community Foundation and highlight Britain’s ‘unsung heroes’ who annually save local authorities and NHS services in Norfolk £500 million.

Mr Bagge said: “Many of these carers go about their roles with little support for themselves and so I have been inspired to raise awareness for the invaluable role they play.”

Mr Bagge has been working with carers’ groups in Norfolk.

He is hoping that if enough voices are heard in support of Carers Strategy, government will sit up and consider acknowledging Britain’s seven million unpaid carers.

He added: “The volunteers have inspired my decision to embark on this challenge. Unpaid carers are giving their time in a very loving way and are wholly un-recognised. They are on their own.”

A carer and formerly high-paid teacher who had to give up her job to look after her husband when he became ill with a rare form of Motor Neurone Disease, said: “If unpaid caring was in a job advert it would be all hours, no paid holiday leave, no days off.”

Unpaid carers are living on every street in every town up and down the UK with many being young and of school age.

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