THE OMV AT DOWNSIDE

Old Gregorian and current chair of the OMV Hugo Whyte (R12) alongside Theo Whyte (R17) returned to Downside on Wednesday 28th April to discuss how current pupils can get involved with the OMV.

The Order of Malta Volunteers (OMV) pilgrimage to Lourdes is a feature in the lives of generations of Sixth Formers and Old Gregorians, though the pandemic brought an abrupt halt to that for 2020 & 2021. Such has been the popularity of the Lourdes week each summer that multiple OGs join the trip. Every person from a wide range of school cohorts was a pupil at Downside; and current and past pupils from many other Schools too are part of the team each year to help look after the pilgrims from the UK who have a wide range of medical and personal needs.

While the Lourdes pilgrimage will need to wait until the impact of the pandemic has further reduced, OMV plans several UK-based options for current pupils, OGs and others keen to volunteer now and in the future. These are partly dependent on the extent to which the UK government removes restriction later this month. 

Those who join the pilgrimage say how much they enjoy their time helping others in need, forming lasting friendships, deepening or exploring their faith and relishing a week in the world-famous city of Lourdes. At the same time, they gain invaluable personal and life skills which they carry into their university years and life beyond. Many volunteers return year after year such is the quality of the experience they share at Lourdes.

We look forward to hearing what events OMV plans for this year and even more so to the Lourdes pilgrimage hopefully returning in 2022 and beyond. If you want to find out more please contact oldgregorians@downside.co.uk