Monday, 27 May 2013

London to Brighton - now that’s a nice walk... Help for Heroes

“Are you mad?” was my first reaction when my daughter, Rosie, told me that she was going to walk from London to Brighton. The London to Brighton 100km London 2 Brighton Walk  which is 62.13 miles in old money. She had just started her first job at  xceed group London and a few of her co workers thought it would be a challenge and they could raise money for charity.

Rosie chose Help for Heroes, which isn’t surprising as her brother, Ash, is in the Army and served out in Afghanistan on Operation Herrick 14 , and his girlfriend Sheryl is a Gunner, having served tours in Iraq and Afghanistan where she suffered life changing injuries and has been put back to together by the amazing people at Headley Court , helped in no small way by the funds raised by Help for Heroes.

And it seemed fitting that Rosie would walk, walking for those who couldn’t walk anymore.
The girls: Rosie Sunny Grace and Lucy got into training. The walk would take over 24 hours to complete, covering all terrains as well as walking through the night. I kept hearing The Proclaimers singing ‘I would walk 500 miles’ but after seeing the people at the finish in Brighton I have to say I bet they wouldn’t...

I went to the 25km point to cheer them on - they were in good spirits, a definite party atmosphere and all seemed well. Rosie’s brothers Gary and Ash, along with their girlfriends Hannah and Sheryl went to the 56km mark to offer encouragement and support. It was getting dark by then and I think the full horror of what they had taken on was just starting to sink in. 50km was the most they had walked in training and the remainder of the walk was unknown territory, in the dark, with no sleep and a long way from home.

At 10am the next day, 26 hours after they started I spoke to Rosie, she was in high spirits, “It’s adrenalin that is keeping us going Mum. We’ve done 87.5km. This is so very hard...but we are nearly there...We just want it over now..”

28 hours after they started I stood on Brighton Racecourse watching the girls walk the final furlong. I have to say that I have never been more proud of her and her team. What an example of all that is good and kind and compassionate in the world. In light of the atrocities of Woolwich in the week it was heart warming to see people, all people, all ages, shapes and sizes, colours and religions, come together to make a difference for charity, for other people, regardless of personal pain.

Watching those people hobble over the finish line was uplifting, humbling and downright brilliant! We clapped and cheered, whooped and hollered. A fantastic event.

As Rosie crossed the line she smiled as she received her medal, but I could tell that she was in a whole world of pain. She slept all the way home. It wasn’t until she got home did I see her poor feet, swollen, blistered and red raw. She cried in pain, and I cried with her. But she personally has raised over £2,000 for Help for Heroes, which is no mean feat.
(sorry about the pun!)

I just wish we could bottle whatever it is that brings out the very best in people, the kindness, the compassion, the simply being a better person because you can, and for no self gain.
This amazing walk showed that we are awash with it in this country.
Long may it continue!

“Rosie, I’m just about to take the dogs for a walk, would you like to....Ouch!” as a well aimed trainer catches me on the side of the head...
“I take that as a No then?”

As I walk out the door I start to hum....”If I could walk 500 miles...”
Check out Rosie Charity page  rosie wiles Walk

Cathy x

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