Thursday, 10 October 2013

Final Thank you!

After finally rediscovering my login details; I am just writing my final blog for a summary/ thank you to you all. Thank you so much for your patience with this final blog- I do realise that it is now 5 weeks over due, sorry for that. I had better make it a good one; no pressure.

Okay so as many of you know my hectic lifestyle which I choose to lead does mean that I haven't actually taken more than a second to sit back and think about what this crazy challenge involved or means or why on earth I even set off on it in the first place.
I often get asked 'did you enjoy it'? Quite simply, no. If you read my blog throughout you would have followed a journey of emotion and pain; and more pain. It's a completely unrecommended experience- unless of course you have two months to kill, £3,000 to spend, and two feet which you do not overly love.
However, apart from this adventure being the most painful experience of my life, my golly am I glad I did it. I have learnt an awful lot about myself and the beautiful secrets of our country. I suspect this challenge will not really sink in until I am about 30 years old, when I take a chance to look at a map of Great Britain, or I finally get round to printing out the hundreds of photos taken and placing them in some kind of memorabilia to remind me of the great task Kate and I set out to do when we were on summer break at 21 years old. But, having taken it in or not, there is now a huge influence of this experience in my life. From knowing that I have no limits; even when I am ready to give up I know I can go on; to knowing how to efficiently pack my bag for a weekend away (a good sill to learn I'd say).

My family, friends and colleagues are still congratulating me on achieving the challenge of walking 1100 miles across the country. I haven't really got my head round what they are congratulating me on; yes I can walk for a really long time. The answer I am sure, will come in good time.
But what I would really like to do is thank those people that really helped me to complete this adventure; because without each of these individuals help in their own special way, I really wouldn't of been able to succeed (or at least not as easily anyway). Sorry if the list is extensive, but as you can appreciate it is important for me to do this.

Firstly, Thank you to Kate. Thank you for suggesting the idea of walking 1100 miles across the country. Next challenge, is my idea! Thank you for your amazing organisation skills that went in to this trip- you did an amazing job! Thank you for not screaming at me when I got us 7 miles lost- on two occasions! I'm convinced it was the maps fault though! Thank you supporting me, being patient with me and for believing in us. I couldn't of asked for a better pal to cross the country with. You did great babe, congrats!

Thank you to my mum- of course. A. for never questioning why I was doing this challenge; how I would do it; or whether I would complete it. But instead for just sitting back and believing in me that I would do it. B. for supporting me in a different way to how anyone else could- for being the reason I wanted to cross that line. You were the person I was most excited to see once crossing that line, and the only person I desperately couldn't wait to hug. Thank you mum!

Thank you to my oldest sister- Cheryl. My god you were a shining little angel for both Kate and I. I can remember calling you on day 6, crying, asking for you to become a doctor over night and cure my blisters and tell me what was wrong with them- without you having even seen a picture of them. You packed my bag for me before I set off- a draining 6 hours of it! You checked and double checked my packing list and then marched me round the shops when with only 24 hours to go before my flight took off I still only had 5 blister plasters. The four trips you took to visit Kate and I during the trip helped us through two of the hardest stretches of our entire walk- with 34 miles being covered on one of the days. You delivered us everything from pillows and dresses to Jager and homemade cake. You my darling were everything and more than I could of asked for! Thank you so so much.

Thank you to the most amazing man in my life- Steve. My caring Step dad. As always, you pulled it out of the bag. Organising all of my family to be there on the finish line on August the 24th- not only was it a bank holiday, but also 600+ miles from home. From booking the amazing surf shack for us all to stay in to preparing the champagne delivery for all of us at the finish line- exactly what the doctor had ordered! I am very lucky to have you in my life, and the support you showed me was very touching. Thank you.

Thank you to my youngest sister- Precious. Thank you for the video you made me of all of my family and some old school teachers wishing me good luck. Receiving this in week three made me smile from the inside and out. That was the nicest thing you've ever done for me- thank you!

Thank you to Hayley, Matt, Jc and Cj. The rest of my siblings. Thank you for your daily support through phone calls to written cards to ice cream deliveries. The effort you put in to see me during my trip was amazing, and I will be forever grateful.

My immediate family raised £800 for British Heart Foundation- a charity very close to all of our hearts. Thank you to all of you.

Thank you to Melinda and Chris; Kate's very lovely parents. Melinda, spending five days with you in week three was fantastic. You should be very proud of yourself for walking 100 miles in four days, such a great effort. But thank you also for your kindness and generosity; the hotels and B&B's you booked for Kate and I were wonderful and the food Kate and I got to eat in this short stint of the challenge was some of the best in our whole trip. Thank you very much. Chris, spending three days with you in week 7 was just lovely. Your a kind hearted man and it was special for Kate and I to share that time with you. Thank you for showing us where you grew up and the stories that came with it. They were the perfect distraction from the fact we had just walked 1000 miles. To both of you; thank you for posting all 49 maps to Kate and I along our trip, with perfection at its best I now see where Kate gets her painfully organised ways from (don't worry, she taught me a thing or two), and for your generosity throughout our trip. Thank you very very much.

Thank you to Josh and Amanda; two very good friends of mine. For so kindly coming to meet me on the finishing line and then enduring three days with me and my crazy family. It was very special to me that you made it there- thank you very very much.

Thank you to my good friend Oliver. Who, very kindly endured hours (literally) of my phone calls throughout the trip. From discussing the scenes of British country side to the sight of my feet- I'm really not sure how you put up with me. However, quite often our phone calls kept my sanity and focus. So thank you for not hanging up on me!

Thank you to my personal training client- Adrian. Now this man sent Kate and I a message every single day of our trip, in the aim of lifting our spirits and encouraging us to keep going. He also visited us in Somerset for three days. Adrian, you put a smile on Kate and I's face every day when we read our little stories from you- thank you so much for your dedicated support to us.

A massive massive thank you to all of the ladies at Curves of Twickenham. These ladies have been unbelievably supportive from day one. My boss- Tabitha. Thank you for three months off work so that I could complete this challenge- I loved it, thank you! But to all of the ladies, from your advise, to your encouragement you were just amazing. I'm truly touched by the support you showed me. From reading my blog daily, to the thousands of pounds that you have collectively donated to the British Heart Foundation. I really can't say thank you enough.

Thank you to my very good friend, Miles. As you already know, your a massive inspiration in my life. As a blind 67 years young man, who has achieved more in the last 10 years of your life than most ever do- speaking to you over the phone and hearing your kind words but most amazingly your inspiring and motivating words were so often the great reason I carried on. Thank you so much for everything; your an amazing man, and I am honoured to call you a friend.

Thank you to my university; St Mary's University of Twickenham. They supported Kate and I from the start; placing us on their website to tweeting about us (not that I've really grasped what this is). But after being nominated by one of our lecturers, without Kate or I knowing; Kate and I won a scholarship for outstanding contribution to the university and community. To be recognised for something we have done outside of university by our university is actually a really good feeling. So thank you.

Now from the trip;

Thank you to Scot and Lindsay who we stayed in their B&B on our 7th day- the most painful day for me of the whole trip. You found me in an emotional heap at the end of your guest room and just looked after Kate and I like we were your own family. From getting us dinner to letting me soak in your bath. Taking us to A&E to fix our infected blisters to gifting us a second night in your beautiful home. Thank you so much. You were the loveliest people I met on the whole trip and I honestly don't know if my feet could of made it without your help and advise. Thank you so so much.

Thank you to the sweetest lady who gave Kate and I a cup of tea and a Kit Kat each on day 5 after walking 34 miles. For both Kate and I this was the most exhausting day; after 16 hours of walking. So thank you for your kindness.

Thank you to Carl and Bill who gave us a hitchhike 30 miles each on day three- you saved us from wild camping without us having to change our route or cut off any miles that we needed to walk, so thank you for picking up two crazy girls in the middle of the Scottish Highlands.

Thank you to Anne Marie, and Jim for welcoming Kate and I to stay in your beautiful home. I will never forget how comfy those pillows were and how homely it was to have dressing gowns and slippers; and your generosity of giving us our next evening in a B&B instead of camping. You are a lovely couple, thank you. Thank you to Barbra and Willy also, for cooking us a delicious home cooked meal and for taking us on your stunning sailing yacht across Loch Lomand.

Thank you to Emily, Carole, Lilly, Kila and Surya for meeting us along the walk. It was lovely to share the adventure with our friends; and the planning it took you all to time your meetings with us, we really appreciated it. Thank you.


Thank you to everybody who so kindly donated to me and the British Heart Foundation.

As you all know, I did this trip in memory of my dad, Carl. My inspiration. Thank you to him for watching over us and for making me wake up every day with a smile. I can only hope I've made you proud.

But to all of you who sponsored me, every penny donated was hugely appreciated. The generosity you have shown towards such an amazing cause has been heart touching.

Thank you very very much.; and thank you for following my blog- now I think you all deserve a drink. Cheers.