BY Ryan McDougall | September 6 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print

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Women celebrates 72 pilgrimages with Jumbulance bus to Lourdes and Rome

Mrs McLeay, 73, was recently congratulated with a special cake for all her years of dedication.

A parishioner of St Mary Magdalene’s and St John the Evangelist’s churches in Edinburgh, has made an incredible 60 trips to Lourdes with a charity for sick and disabled pilgrims.

Phyllis McLeay has made a total of 72 pilgrimages with the specially adapted Jumbulance bus—60 to Lourdes and the rest to other places such as Rome.

Mrs McLeay, 73, was recently congratulated with a special cake for all her years of dedication.

Additional needs

She said: “I wasn’t thinking much about the total, so it came as a surprise from the group. People were asking me, ‘how do you remember how many you’ve been on?’ and I said I keep a wee note of them all.”

The Jumbulance is a luxury coach and ambulance that takes people with additional support needs and disabilities on pilgrimages, who may otherwise be unable to attend.

Mrs McLeay started volunteering with the charity back in 1978, often heading out with them more than once a year.

Withdrawal symptoms

She said: “I first got involved after seeing an advert in the Catholic Universe saying the Jumbulance were looking for helpers, so I just went for it.”

She stopped briefly a few years back, but said she ‘got withdrawal symptoms’ and quickly got back into volunteering.

Mrs McLeay added: “I hope to keep doing this as long as I’m able to. I’m playing it by ear as to when the next one will be, but I usually travel with a London-based group so I’ll be going with them at some point next year.”

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