17 Jul, 2018
10 : 00
On June 1, Mr Steve Hackman, Head of Christian and Community Development at the Yew Chung Education Foundation, set off on a 2,000km, two-and-a-half-month-long walk to raise funds for charity. Mr Hackman has received much interest in his special journey, including from the South China Morning Post, which interviewed Mr Hackman before he set off.
Mr Hackman is walking the Via Francigena – an ancient route trodden by many thousands of Christian pilgrims from Canterbury Cathedral in England to St Peter’s Square, the Vatican. In doing the walk, Mr Hackman hopes to raise awareness of the YCIS charity, Seeds of Hope, and to raise funds for the school’s current project with Kids International Ministries which aims to build a Secondary school for children in Manila, Philippines.
Mr Hackman is a self-confessed “walk-aholic”, but this has not always been the case. He did his first major walk just three years ago with his 14-year-old son Gabriel; a 300km walk from the West to the East coast of England. “Before then I was a couch potato, not a hiker,” he told the South China Morning Post, but “the Coast to Coast walk with my son was one of the most beautiful experiences of my life and made me realise long-distance walking would always be part of me.”
Since then, Mr Hackman has been somewhat unstoppable. It took him a month to complete the 800km Camino de Santiago – a historic hike across Spain that is also known as The Way of St James. He walked it for a second time last year with his wife, six-year-old son, and 20-year-old daughter.
“When you hit the highest point – the Cruz de Ferro – you see an iron cross. For thousands of years people have been laying stones there – a metaphor for their burdens. So you take a stone from your home country – my son, and I took stones from Ma Wan Beach on Park Island where we live – and we left them on the mound with the other stones. It was an extremely spiritual moment.”
The Via Francigena walk will be arduous for Mr Hackman at times, especially in the height of the European summer, but it takes a path through some of Europe’s most outstanding natural landscapes and ancient towns. After crossing the English county of Kent, Mr Hackman will take a ferry to France where he will walk south through the wine-making region of Champagne toward Switzerland. He will traverse the Swiss Alps via St Bernards Pass, and head for Rome through Tuscany. Mr Hackman expects to complete this extraordinary and historically significant journey around August 10, when he will arrive at the Vatican City.
Mr Hackman was joined for part of the walk by Mr Chris Perks, School Chaplain for YCIS Shanghai, who, along with four others, attended the launch in Canterbury and for the first few days of the walk. Mr Perks also walked with Mr Hackman into France for a further five days.
Mr Hackman is hoping to raise his target of USD 30,000 for Kids International Ministries, providing support for the incredible work they are doing with children and families outside Manila. Please click here to visit his Simply Giving page to learn more and to donate to this meaningful cause.