Vicar takes on alphabet hitchhike challenge for St Albans counselling charity

Rev Will Gibbs

Rev Will Gibbs - Credit: Archant

A Redbourn vicar is taking on an A-Z hitchhiking challenge to highlight the kindness of strangers.

Rev Will Gibbs of St Mary's Church will visit 26 places, each starting with the next letter of the alphabet.

The 47-year-old vicar plans to set off on Friday, July 12 with just a toothbrush and £10 in his back pocket - without a fixed plan - and see where his adventure takes him.

He will be fundraising for Youth Talk who provide confidential counselling and support for local 13 to 25 year olds facing anxiety, grief, low confidence and other issues.

The vicar said it will be very interesting to see where he ends up and anticipates that some of the letters will be challenging to find places for. He is keen to show that the stereotype of clergymen is not always warranted and that vicars can have fun and a good sense of humour.

He will have a GPS on his phone so that he can update Facebook, Twitter and the church website.

Rev Gibbs said: "I just love people. It will get me out and get me talking to others.

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"You don't see a lot of people hitchhiking nowadays and I am going to wear my dog collar. That may go for or against me, I'm not sure.

"So much of our life is very formulaic and planned and I really am looking forward to stepping out of that.

"With the pressures on young people these days, effective counselling services are crucial.

The reverend is married with two daughters. His wife Claire Gibbs said: "It doesn't surprise us that he is doing a mad challenge like this. We are looking forward to a quiet weekend."

Chief executive of Youth Talk David Barker said: "As a charity we are reliant on the generosity and goodwill of residents and businesses across St Albans. We cannot do anything without the likes of St Marys and Reverend Gibbs.

"Young people in St Albans will really benefit from the funds raised."

A competition is being held to see if people can guess his return time.

To sponsor him visit