"I feel part of a big family."
Paul, who has quadriplegic cerebral palsy, first travelled with HCPT as a child pilgrim at Easter when he was 15 and remembers that experience very vividly. "The whole pilgrimage is a magnificent spectacle, something that sticks with you forever. The groups bathe the town in an amazing sea of colour. It's a community all as one, especially at the Trust Mass".
As soon as he could go as an adult he contacted his local Summer group who were more than happy to have him join them. Since then he's been to Hosanna House 11 times. Paul explained why his HCPT pilgrimages are the highlights of his year, "Lourdes is the one place I genuinely get to reconnect fully with my faith and to rejuvenate. What makes it even more special is that you are doing it along with lots of other people who feel the same. I feel better when I'm there, I am so relaxed. I'm sure the lovely air in the Pyrenees helps too! I look forward to it all year."
We asked him what makes Hosanna House somewhere he enjoys staying so much, "basically the facilities are perfect. If I need anything it is there waiting for me when I get there – it's like magic. The staff are so welcoming and helpful too. The food in the House is excellent. I'm always the one eating anything extra that's left at the end of the meal. I'll often even make the point of going and thanking the chef and the other kitchen staff personally."
He enjoys himself so much during his week at Hosanna House that the day he leaves is always a difficult one, but Paul, as always, takes the positive from it, "I must admit I get very emotional – both from a spiritual and social side. But when I leave I have more friends and feel part of a bigger family. When we have meet ups during the year it is great to get back together with the extended family!"