Here we are then, the morning after the day before ( I like that line – that’s why I’ve used it twice) and what a day yesterday was.

The whole Family. Friends, old and new, not seen for a long time.  Current friends. The SSIJ Team.  All in one place at the same time – so many great people to get around, that I fear I did none of them justice, as I was spread a little thin.

And mustn’t forget those that don’t pigeon hole in the above. They were there  in their numbers and helped in no small way make the day that much better.

Stood at the bar having a mini re-union of those I will always think of as ‘my boys’ from the halcyon days when we swept all before us on the football pitch, sharing banter, was a real throw back.  I’m still chuckling at Bobby’s reply when I asked him how he was.

“Melancholy” was hardly what I expected.

Has any footballer ever used the word Melancholy before?  Still that kind of sums Bobby up.

The only downer was having to leave abruptly.  Having sat on my sofa for the best part of six weeks, waiting for the elephant leg to reduce to normal, I found that standing up for a couple of hours was too much for my ageing back and consequently had to give into the spasms and struggle the 100 yards to the car.  I felt and looked like I was thirty years older than the spritely 52 I am – in fact most 80 year olds look better than I did at that moment in time.

I did however make it through the Raffle of Excellence, the main event of the day.

Having worked on it for a good while, fretted, worried, cajoled, nagged, encouraged – everything came together yesterday evening and I reckon we ‘proper’ (to use a good Wiltshire word) pulled it off.

Highlight of the Raffle was undoubtedly my Mother (in her 70’s) winning the tandem parajet flight.  It took a good while to restore order, indeed when I got home and rung her she was still laughing herself.  In truth she has always liked Weymouth, so this will give her the chance to see it from a new perspective!!

The Raffle, as a whole, was far more successful than I had imagined as it grew nearer and as it turns out raised £6k – yes that’s six thousand pounds.  How generous are people in these times of austerity? Thanks to you all, if you donated you can feel rightly proud of yourself and sleep sound in the knowledge that you’ve done a good thing, as every penny will go to Factor50 and help people like me.

But that doesn’t just happen.  A lot of hard work went into getting it right.

Whilst I don’t generally single people out as I firmly believe in the team ethic, I will however now.  Tara, Pete and family were brilliant, from the outset and basically sacrificed their whole day getting the tickets sorted (there were a lot – six thousand to be precise).  Couldn’t have done it without you, so many, many thanks.

Which nicely brings me onto an area I have neglected and really shouldn’t have.

The support crew.

In many ways being a runner/rider is easy. Not physically obviously.  But you get up in the morning, don your trainers and get going.  You can however only do that because lots of people have put in a lot of work beforehand and continue to do so as you eat the miles up.

Driving, cooking, feeding, scrounging, mending broken bodies, sorting out routes, finding places to set up feeding stations….the list goes on and on as you try to pre-empt every conceivable situation with a solution before it happens.

Trust me it’s not easy.

Imagine spending all day travelling around the Yorkshire Dales and then having to cook 25 meals in double quick time.  Collapsing in a heap on a camp bed for the night and then getting up at sparrow’s fart (half an hour before everyone else) and cooking 25 breakfasts before setting off and doing it all again.  It just ain’t easy but is necessary – the whole challenge would collapse without these unsung heroes doing their thing.

And they do it all with a smile on their face.  They understand that that is important to keep the athletes going and they do it all expecting no praise or thanks.

So today I’d like to publicly say thanks – we really couldn’t do it without you.

Who are they?

Well in no particular order:

Jon Chalk

Rich Chalmers

Dawne Dawes

Scott Dawes

Penny Chalk

Mandy Forster

Steve Forster

Miné Arzu

and due to injuries, Myself and Sarah will be helping out

You make it what it is.

One final note – there are a lot of people eating Malt Loaf today.  Thanks Soreen.




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