Walkers set out in historic walk

4:00pm Thursday 12th December 2013

By Wendy Brading

WALKERS are to follow in the footsteps of islanders who took on a challenge 100 years ago.

On December 13, 1913, John Wood organised a walk to settle "once and for all" how long it took to walk around Mersea Island.

Twenty-three Mersea men entered the race with Chas Prigg coming home first.

He walked the estimated 15 miles route in two hours 39 minutes.

The men then celebrated with a sausage supper at the Victory Hotel. It was reported walking sticks were awarded as prizes, songs were sung and step dances were stepped.

Now, 100 years, almost to the day, the gauntlet has been thrown down again.

A round the island walk is being held on Saturday December 14.

Author Veronique Eckstein said: "I think they must have been very fit to complete the walk in that time.

"You are talking about an age when if you wanted to get from Mersea to Colchester, you had to walk.

"They were farmers and they were fit."

Tragically, by the same time the following year, many of the island's men had volunteered to fight in the First World War and several were already dead.

So far, about 30 walkers have signed up to take part in the centenary commemorative walk.

The start and finish line will be at Ivy Farm in East Mersea with parking at Cudmore Grove.

Registration is between 9am and 10am.

Anyone not taking part in the walk is welcome to visit the First World War educational project at Ivy Farm where there is a replica of a 1916 Sopwith Pup bi-plane and an exhibition.

In honour of the first walk, sausages and soup will be available for the walkers.

For more information, go to www.merseaislandtales.co.uk.

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