Day130 has seen a day which started in bright sunshine despite being very dreich then saw 9.7 miles walked with a broad smile on my face and an early shower.

After a wonderful 4 days walking in the Lake District with my sister Isla, brother-in-law Rob and nephew wee Archie I arrived, late last night, in Evesham to see my Mum Sally, stepfather David and brother Harry for Easter. I managed to write most of yesterday’s post in the car on the way as Rob drove so beautifully and Isla and wee Archie slept so peacefully all the way to Lancaster in which we stopped to visit Richard and Alison who I had last met at Isla and Rob’s wedding just 1 year ago almost to the day. We had earlier driven via Lake Windermere to take in the sights and see the locations and hills that meant so much to Isla and Rob as they continued their courtship and deepened their affection for each other before eventually agreeing to join together in marriage and becoming engaged. We even went on a recreation of the desperate search for a phonebox in order to tell the families the amazing news from the Lakes without mobile phone reception. It was a delightful tale that I was very happy to see and hear in such great detail and that kept me buoyant as I relived my earlier sadness in the morning’s realization as I told the story in the writing of my post. So to stop off for tea and cake with Richard and Alison and finish the story at it’s natural conclusion in the wedding was a delight. I was just glad to stop there and be spared the bit about the making of wee Archie on the honeymoon. There are some things that you just don’t want to know about your sister’s life! So now in Evesham with Mum we had another cup of tea, a catch up then hugs and farewells with Isla, Rob and Archie before titivating the post, publishing it and bed.

Last night I had made a plan to get up early as usual, have breakfast, walk in to Evesham town centre and gather some information on walks and cycle rides in the local area before deciding what walk to do, preparing it and going for it. This morning however I slept in until 0800 hrs. I had had one of the best sleeps that I could remember for a very long time. It was great and instead of getting frustrated about the time lost I remembered that the days were getting longer and kept it calm. Breakfast had then a vegetable pick and mix bag made for both David and I because David, at 71, was coming too. Mum had to go to work sadly but David and I were walking.

Evesham Town Centre first. 1.1 miles in the dreich conditions, that were so un-spring like, to the Tourist Information Centre in order to gather as much information as I could on walks in the local area. Mum had just moved in to the area from Cornwall in order to be closer to her friends and family spread to the four winds across the UK. Last time I visited over Christmas I discovered what an incredible area of both natural and man made beauty Evesham sat in the very middle of. There was so very much to explore and I needed some info to help guide me. While in the Information Centre I also discovered another delight of the midlands in the wonderfully warm and welcoming persona of so many that I meet. The couple in there were like a burst of bright sunshine and could not do enough to help me gather all the information I could. Remembering that I had found one more flyer, my very last flyer, I dug into my trouser map pocket, pulled it out and invited them both to enjoy a glass of wine while watching a video. To come and explore the Beat the Beast Challenge then hopefully join me on the journey. Claire was hugely enthusiastic and very keen to do all that she could to raise awareness of the Challenge. We even dashed outside and took some photographs both for my page but also for their facebook page. It was a delight to meet them both and the memory of that meeting kept a smile fixed firmly to my face for the rest of the day. I very much hope that they do come and join me on the journey.

The hugely enthusiastic Claire
The hugely enthusiastic Claire

With all the info I had I needed to sit and do some planning. To work out where to walk to first. David and I went up to the library, got the maps out and made a plan while having our sandwiches. I had a plan. Mum had told me about the new Blossom Trail that had been constructed around Worcestershire, I had the maps and picked the first two walks. Church Lench at 3 miles then Fladbury at 4.5 miles. David had wheels so we could do one, drive to the start of the other and get it done before darkness fell. Plan agreed so all we needed to do was walk the 1.1 miles back home to pick up David’s car.

The Church Lench walk was pleasant, walked in a building breeze over undulating countryside, chatting away but with no blossom seen. A few buds, but just too early. However we got round and back to the car with no dramas. We managed to find Fladbury that was not even marked on the road map we had in the car and made another plan. David, quite sensibly, felt that the 5.2 miles he had now walked already today was probably enough. He sensed that the rain was coming and the 20/20 cricket was on. The Quarter Final of the 20/20 world cup. England vs Sri Lanka. I should do the second walk myself and he will be stood by to come and pick me up. Just as he said that, the rain started to build from occasional drops on the windscreen to persistent and the wind rocked the car. I climbed out, hanging on tightly to the car door, adjusted my waterproofs, put on my rucksack, checked my map then with a wave set off. As soon as I was over the A44 the mud became thicker, the path more like a ploughed field, the gradient rose steeply, the breeze built to a strong wind and the rain carried on it became thicker and heavier. My waterproofs were breached. The wind was blowing the rain through them. I was soaked but smiling. There are no photos because the amazing promised views of the Malvern Hills were hidden behind the driving sheets of water. This was hard going. David had made a very canny decision to remain behind so I wasn’t having to worry about him. It was just me, the countryside and the elements. I had all the kit that I needed to survive until rescued if something should go wrong. I had had a brilliant meeting with the team in the Information Centre. Yes I had a prognosis but I was blessed with the will, energy and improving cognitive and motor function to be able to get out in such inclement weather and difficult conditions to navigate around and walk another 4.5 miles. Life was good and I was going to make every day I was given count. I made my soggy way back to the car park and sure enough, David was waiting for me. Happy. England had won by 10 runs! I changed into some drier kit behind the car then on the way home popped into Evesham for a Mocha and a Flapjack. 9.7 miles walked today in such conditions. I think I’d earnt it!

So a great day that started dreich with a sunny interval before becoming gradually windier and wetter but the harder the weather tried the better the day became. All except for one thing. After the information centre. I didn’t meet another sole. No-one. Very disappointing but tomorrow is Easter so I take this opportunity to wish you a Happy Easter.

The challenge so far in numbers in total since the start:
Days completed: 130
Total Miles Cycled: 635
Total Miles Walked: 661.7
Total Miles Run: 44.2
Total Miles Paddled: 7
Total Distance Cycled, Skied, Ran and Rowed in the gym: 23.3
Total Distance Swum: 2,140 metres
Total Miles covered under own steam.1,373.3
Total Height Gained under own steam: 34,679 feet
Mountains Climbed: 5
Hills Climbed: 18
Days of Voluntary Activity: 8.5
Organ tunes learnt and performed: 5
Salmon Caught: 0!
Bats Found:0!
Curling Matches played in: 8
Curling stones placed on the button (the centre of the target): 3
Weight Training Sessions: 10
Weight shifted: 10kgs lifted over 102metres or 2040kgs moved over ½ a metre,
Aerobic Circuit Sessions: 6
Press Ups: 380
Pull Ups: 79
Sit Ups: 465
People Met and Hands Shaken: 383
Pots of tea shared: 29
Prayers joined on the top of a hill: 2
Prayers joined in the street!: 4
Prayers joined in a Train Station: 1
Prayers joined in a Café: 1
Pills popped: 672
Days until Driving Licence (lost to epilepsy) possibly Returned: 670
And most important of all – Money Raised as at Day 126 – £6,710.77

Considering I started this challenge 6 months ago very quietly with no target beyond a fiver, thanks to the brilliant advice from a friend of mine, I am absolutely thrilled and again thank you all. That is £53.26 for each and every day that I have managed to find the will and energy to do something worthwhile and my goodness it has been worth it for my peace of mind, for my healing and for the five wonderful charities you are supporting through your generosity. Long may it continue. May I also ask however that if you are not sponsoring me to please consider it for as much or as little as you can afford. My rate of revenue raising has slowed from £70.00 a day to £60.00 a day to £53.26 a day so please sponsor me and encourage your friends to as well.

Thank you all for your incredible comments and support. Please continue to spread the word.
If you see me around do please give a cheery hello and shake my hand or toot your horn and give a cheery wave to show your support and encourage me on.

Thank you for joining me on my own personal journey and encouraging me to walk, cycle, climb, paddle, sport and do good deeds each day to ‘Beat the Beast’ while helping to improve the lives and life chances of so many more people through sponsorship. The Five Charities that I have selected to support are:

  1. Cancer Research UK – My Father Succumbed to Lung Cancer; a couple of friends are currently fighting cancer and I am fighting a brain tumour. Let’s Help to Beat Cancer Sooner.
  2. The Prince’s Trust – Inspiring and preparing disadvantaged Young Lives for success.
  3. British Red Cross – helping those in need around the UK and the world whoever and wherever they are.
  4. World Wide Fund for Nature – For a Living Planet and a Future Where People and Nature Thrive.
  5. Help for Heroes – Support for our Wounded and their Families. To learn more about my story that brought me to this point, how I plan to ‘Beat the Beast’, what activities I plan to do within the challenge and why, please see my welcome video on this page.

How to Sponsor Me

The Beat the Beast Challenge is self funding through my own contribution while keeping costs to a minimum with voluntary support and corporate sponsorship in kind. Therefore the entirety of every penny donated will go directly to the 5 charities listed above.

Please sponsor me by completing a standing order form either through your own personal internet banking or by completing a hard copy standing order form in your branch of your bank and then handing it in to the teller.

It is entirely up to you how much you would like to and are able to sponsor me for so do please give as much or as little as you can. Every penny will be very gratefully received.

While I hope you will encourage me to keep going by sponsoring me for every day I survive and am able to find the cognitive and physical capability to complete a day’s task designed to improve my chances of ‘Beating the Beast’ or improving the lives of others, 5 days a week, four weeks a month, for as long as ever I can. Any One off Cash contributions will be most gratefully received and distributed in exactly the same manner to the five charities as the sponsorship. Any one off donations can be made by BACS or cheque.

Thank you for having enough faith in me to sponsor me.

Yours aye