Intrepid retired teacher walked 50 miles along the Thames path during Holy Week to help some of the world’s most marginalised people

Sally Carter Esdale, 62, from Wimbledon is the Assistant Registrar of Readers at Southwark Cathedral and began her Holy Week prayer walk from Southwark Cathedral on Monday 26 March.

She finished the 50-mile stretch at Windsor on Good Friday together with her husband Charles who walked the final leg with her.

Mum-of-four Sally hopes her efforts will raise as much awareness and money possible for The Leprosy Mission’s Premananda Hospital in Kolkata, India.

Sally has supported The Leprosy Mission since 1985 and, after retiring from her teaching career at Notre Dame Catholic School in Cobham last year, she has dedicated herself to speaking about the charity’s work in churches and community groups.

She travelled to India in November to visit two Leprosy Mission hospitals which has only further fueled her heart to help those with leprosy, a curable yet deeply disabling and stigmatised disease.

Sally said: “I always think what would Jesus do and in the Bible we read he took every opportunity to help someone. There’s a person attached to every story.

“Last summer my daughter Eleanor and I walked Pilgrim’s Way to Canterbury from Wimbledon, sponsored by our friends to raise money for The Leprosy Mission’s work at Purulia Hospital in India. To our surprise, complete strangers we met along the way were moved to give us donations after hearing us talk about the work.

“Although curable, leprosy is a cruel disease which causes nerve damage. It results in people developing terrible disabilities as they can no longer feel pain in their hands and feet. 

“Eleanor and I took stones out of our shoes countless times while walking Pilgrim’s Way which people with leprosy wouldn’t be able to feel and would develop terrible sores and infections as a result.”

Later this year Sally and husband Charles, also 62, are planning a tandem cycle ride from Southwark Cathedral to raise money for The Leprosy Mission’s work at Premananda Hospital.

“I can’t ride a bicycle because I’m useless at steering, but I can go on the back of a tandem – no problem,” says Sally.

“It is a fantastic way of meeting people and telling them about these terribly isolated and marginalised people in Asia and Africa who desperately need our help.”

If you would like to invite Sally to speak to your church or community group, please email

« back to latest news