A vicar from Reigate in Surrey who supports the climate campaign group Extinction Rebellion is marching from London to Glasgow to protest for climate justice.

Reigate resident, Reverend Helen Burnett, who is the vicar of St Peter and St Paul's Church in Chaldon, joined some 40 marchers at the start of an epic pilgrimage to Glasgow which will host the crucial COP26 global climate summit in November later this year.

The journey will cover 500 miles and take around eight weeks, seeing an expected 15 protesters complete it in full to arrive at the COP26 summit in Glasgow on the eve of its opening (October 30).

Helen played a key role in helping make the 'Camino to COP' march a reality.

She spoke on its importance as the marchers gathered at parliament square on Sunday (September 5) for the first day of their journey:

"It is wonderful to have so many supporters join us for the first day. We walked right through the centre of London and out along Edgware Road to Kilburn where we were greeted by the lovely folk of the parish of NW6," she said.

Surrey Comet:

"We set off via Parliament Square from the Church of St James in Piccadilly to the church of St James in Kilburn, spurred on by the goodwill of the people we passed."

Helen has been involved with Extinction Rebellion, who demand drastic emergency action on the climate crisis, for several years.

The Surrey Comet reported how, during the 2019 'rebellion' staged by the group, she was arrested during an occupation of a bridge in central London calling for the end of fossil fuels and biodiversity loss.

"I was particularly interested in how Extinction Rebellion were looking at climate breakdown's impact on people spiritually, how it affects them emotionally," she told the newspaper previously.

"This bridge was referred to as the Faith Bridge and I realized that as such it was important for people of faith to stay there and to make that protest on behalf of the faith they belong to.

Surrey Comet: Helen Burnett was previously arrested at an Extinction Rebellion demo in 2019Helen Burnett was previously arrested at an Extinction Rebellion demo in 2019

"As the police moved in I realized that this was something I needed to do.

"So I sat prayerfully, and the arrest itself was very calm really. The police treated me with great respect.

"Within the Church of England we have the Five Marks of Mission which are areas in which we are asked to act, and to lead on if you're a member of the clergy like me.Well, the fifth one is to protect God's creation, so that is part of my ministry, and it has to be a priority now as we have not done that well lately."

More than 200 leading health journals including the British Medical Journal recently published a joint letter demanding urgent action on the climate crisis, from richer nations in particular. 

"The greatest threat to global public health is the continued failure of world leaders to keep the global temperature rise below 1.5C and to restore nature.

"Urgent, society-wide changes must be made and will lead to a fairer and healthier world," one section of the report read.

Click here to read the full letter or here for more info. on the climate crisis.