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Pilgrim survives major car accident.

You may have thought pilgrims went out with the Middle Ages – wandering around supported by their staffs with an unwashed aroma emanating from their soiled robes. Not so. The modern day pilgrim is an athlete striding out purposely, nose to a satnav, covering as many kilometres as possible to achieve their physical or spiritual goal.

The pilgrims of Silves Rotary Club are made of such stuff. Ready to climb mountains, swim rivers, in their quest to cover the 120 kilometres from the Portuguese border to the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. Ten pilgrims we are now, honed by route marches through inhospitable Algarvean terrain in burning temperatures. In the peak of fitness? Well, sort of – we are human after all – and with an average age of seventy, subject to bit of wear and tear.


Take, for example, Jim Kennedy, brimming with energy, always striding ahead of the rest on training walks. You could count on Jim. This pilgrimage would be a doddle for him. But fate dealt a cruel blow in the form of a horrendous accident in July on a UK motorway. His car was struck by a lorry at 60 mph. He was spun from the slow lane into the lorry´s wheels and across four lanes before coming to a stop in the fast lane. It was a miracle that he lives to tell the tale. He suffered no major injury; muscle damage has left him in pain and with difficulty in walking.

Surely Jim would pull out of the pilgrimage? No! Jim says his close escape has focussed him on how lucky he was. He is glad to help fund the project to equip a much needed sensory room and garden at Agrupamento Silves Sul school in Armação de Pera to help children with learning difficulties adjust to school life.

Will you sponsor Jim and our other pilgrims? The money we raise for this project will change the lives of children and those helping them.

You can donate now at via our page “Help Pilgrims Change Kids Lives”

For more information email

Or Tel. 912584999

Help us make a difference!

Three Weeks to Go

3 Weeks to go to the Silves Rotary Club Pilgrimage

Another week closer to our pilgrimage and the final training programme is underway.  This week a 7km walk around the junction of the Odelouca and Arade rivers is our gentle reintroduction after the heat of the summer. Just one of a number training walks over the last few months walk leader Philippe has organized to get the Silves Rotary Club team fit for the challenge.

Why go through the challenge? We hope to inspire you to make a donation or sponsor a pilgrim so that we can resource a much needed sensory room and garden for Autistic and Downs syndrome children in Agrupamento Escolas Silves Sul. The children need a calm, safe haven to enable them to benefit fully from their time in school.

You can see from Philippe’s bio he is not new to the Camino having walked from France to Santiago some years ago with his family. He has also walked our route along with wife Carmen in June in preparation for the main event in just over three weeks’ time. His meticulous preparation and encouragement is all part of the support in place for those in the group who are older and carrying more injuries or health issues. We will introduce all the pilgrims over the next few weeks.

First: Philippe, mid 60s

Philippe 3

He says I am a new Rotary member. I retired, a couple of years ago, from an international career, mainly in Operations leadership roles. My focus was always been around developing a meaningful purpose and rallying groups to achieve their goals through intensive teamwork.

I have never stopped practicing physical activities: running 2-3 times / week until my mid 50’s and during the last 10 years, walking on a daily basis. Some heart issues required the placement of a stent and a heart ablation was needed to eliminate arrhythmia.

Why I become a pilgrim?

Our family (spouse and two children) always loved nature and hiking. We have completed the French Camino de Santiago in 5 stages, over 5 years’ vacations. This Portuguese Camino project addresses several personal objectives: a noble purpose to help disabled children, teamwork to support each participant to make it to Santiago, physical exercise and enjoyment of the beautiful nature and landscapes.

Team Member:  Petra Vahle-Francis, Mid sixties

Petra 2

Petra says: Having spent over 30 years performing classical music day and night, I was curious to learn something new.  Curiosity drove me to the World Peace Academy at University of Basel, where I graduated with a diploma in Peace and Conflict Transformation, followed by a professional development diploma in conflict resolution from the Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok. Together with my husband, I founded the “Corridors of Peace” Organisation in Switzerland, catering for refugees, asylum seekers, migrants, and all those living on the margins in different societies, home and abroad.

Luckily no major health issues yet, but had a serious fall causing dental replacement some 5 years ago. Definitely not as good as I used to be; with transition comes great challenges: in moving from Switzerland to the beautiful Algarve, I have not found a solid rhythm yet, but I will get there soon.

Why I become a pilgrim:

Since 2002 I have wanted to walk the Camino de Santiago de Compostela but could not find the right time, group or persons to walk with.  On a visit to Silves Rotary Club here in the Algarve, I was lucky to experience an inspiring lecture by Philippe Pfister, who has prepared all the logistics and background information for clubs Camino de Santiago de Compostela walk, to raise funds for children with learning difficulties. I feel it is a golden opportunity to walk with people of similar sensibilities. I am grateful to join this noble rotary project.

You can donate now at via our page “Help Pilgrims Change Kids Lives”

For more information email

Or Tel. 912584999

Help us make a difference!

Help Pilgrims Change Kids Lives

Still smiling half way

A dozen members from Silves Rotary Club with a combined age of over 850 years decided to walk the Camino Portugues from Valença to Santiago de Compostela. Starting on the 24 September 2022 the pilgrims will walk some 120 km over six days to provide children with learning difficulties a calm and ideal place to learn.

Each team member will be supported by a class of pupils at the Agrupamento Escolas De Silves Sul and carry a mascot presented by their class so that the pilgrims can share their experience daily with the school children. You could say there will be 24 pilgrims.

Looking at them, you would not bet on these pilgrims making it. A couple have recently had hip replacements, one a heart surgery, another an eighty year old dodgy knee – whilst others have suffered  a sprinkling of other injuries that one picks up in your seventies – yes, the average age of the pilgrims will be over seventy. They are the walking wounded.

Why go through the challenge? You may well ask. The answer is to raise money for this fantastic cause and to inspire you to donate to us so that we can resource a much needed sensory room and garden in Agrupamento Escolas De Silves Sul.

The school needs a sensory room and garden, a calm, safe haven to enable them to benefit fully from their time in school. The dedicated teachers at the school work hard to provide the children with the necessary skills to live independently in the future.

Silves Rotary Club Pilgrims are asking your help to raise 20,000 Euros, 100% of your donations will go to turn that old classroom and scrubby garden into a harmonious learning space with all the necessary resources. Any contribution no matter how small is welcome.

Scrubby Garden

Sensory 1Sensory 2

We are inspired by John Bunyan’s famous hymn which goes

He who would valiant be

Against all disaster.

Let him in constancy

Follow the master.

There’s no discouragement,

Shall make him once relent

His first avowed intent

To be a pilgrim.

Be Inspired too. Please donate

More information in the next few weeks about the pilgrims:

You can donate now at via our page “Help Pilgrims Change Kids Lives


On Saturday 30 April, Rotary Silves gave a highly successful concert to a packed house in the Teatro Mascarenhas Gregorio in Silves. The concert featured the well-known group Cool Manouche, Playing their very special gypsy jazz, they entertained the audience royally with classics such as Django Reinhardt’s “Minor Swing” and “Nuages”.

Our thanks go to Câmara de Silves for allowing us to use the theatre. Rotary Silves donated the proceeds from ticket sales, a total amount of €3,900.00, to Agrupamento Escolas Silves Sul, headed by Carlos Silva Diretor do Agrupamento. The sum will go towards their project to build and equip a sensory room and a sensory garden in Armação de Pera to help students with learning difficulties to find peace of mind.

cheque presentation

Cameras for Online Teaching

During the recent confinements, online teaching has become the norm for students and teachers alike. A new and valuable skill has been learnt. To enable these to be shown at their best, Agrupamento de Escolas Silves Sul needed access to good quality cameras. RC Silves was able to donate two cameras to support the school in delivering online learning at its normal high standard.

Masks for Casa de Povo S.B. Messines

As other schools and support centres have found masks can cause communication difficulties for staff working with young or disadvantaged. This was no different for Casa de Povo. RC Silves was able to donate masks with transparent windows for the Kindergarten Educators, Technicians who teach Music and English classes in pre-school and day care, technicians working with people with mental illness and those working with disadvantaged children.

Donation for the Therapy Rooms of Casa de Povo, SB de Messines

RC Silves has worked closely with Casa de Povo over the last year to raise funds to help equip their newly built therapy rooms.

The rooms are used for the education and support of adults who have mental difficulties. For this service to continue the government, wanted  specific physiologic diagnostic tests to be implemented. RC Silves recently donated 1200€ to purchase these much needed resources.

Masks for Younger Pupils

As schools prepared to return after the long break following the Covid 19 Pandemic, it became evident in the local schools that younger pupils and the deaf and hard of hearing found it difficult to understand their teachers whilst they are masked. To help alleviate the problem, RC Silves donated masks with transparent sections to the local Agrupamento Escolas de Silves Sul.

We are not at the end of this virus yet and RC Silves may be called on for further support in the future.

Exchange Visit

The pupils from Wildern School arrived in the Algarve to brilliant weather a respite from the cold wet weather in the UK.  They joined their host families for an exciting time, with visits to Lisbon, Sagres, Vilamoura, Lagos and Monchique.

This year is the sixth year of the exchange and probably the best with families forming long term relationships. The next exchange will take place in September.

Sardines Art

A bi product of our primary school art project lead by David Trubshaw, past president and resident artist

were 30 screens of fantastic artwork. Pupils were asked to decorate a sardine and their imaginations ran riot.

After hanging in the Lady in Red Art Gallery,  the fantastic  results now have a permeant home in the new facility at Casa do Povo.