Wednesday 30th December 2015 – 52/52 – Pembroke to St. Peter Port
The day finally arrived: my very last charity walk, 52/52, from Pembroke Bay to St Peter Port. Driving along the seafront at Les Banques the sight of the sea thundering into the sea wall at a rate of knots and coming right over the road left me under no illusions that today’s weather was going to be easy for walking. Arriving at Pembroke and finding the wind blowing strongly was obviously no surprise, but my attention was completely distracted from it when I realised how many people had turned up for this last walk. Clive had brought along 10 members of his family; there was Sue, who had done walks previously with us; 84 year-old George from Club Bon Amis; Karen representing education in Autism on the island, with her beautiful dog, Dexter; Jill, a director from Autism Guernsey, and Peter, representing a specific social club group who regularly support good causes in raising money and donating to them. He had promised me way back in April that he would help me out with my fund raising walks and he duly obliged today. I must add at this point how grateful I was to all of these people, not only for them all coming along today for the walk but for the very kind and substantial donations I received from them as well.
The strong wind made for some spectacular sea scenes as we made our way along the well-trodden coastal path to Bordeaux Harbour, but it was difficult with the wind blowing directly at us or pushing us sideways. Being very much aware of the predicted wet weather forecast for later in the morning the group were conscious of keeping up a good pace, and it was some relief for all of us to get into the country lanes and sheltered from the wind. Nicole, a former work colleague, joined in the walk as this point – it was great to see her again after last seeing her complete the Sally Davies cliff walk way back in April this year. I loved seeing the sheep and Guernsey goats once more, they have been such a feature on this leg throughout the year.
Back out on the walkway near Bordeaux Harbour that has such spectacular views across to the other islands, the strong wind was whipping up the sea and it was somewhat challenging to any seafarers out in that channel today.
Arriving at Bordeaux Kiosk the clouds were getting darker so we decided not to stop, unless, of course, we needed the toilet facilities, which fortunately at this location were open, but throughout the island at this time of the year most public toilets on the coastal and cliff paths are usually closed!
Onwards we went past Vale Castle and through both the North and South Sides of The Bridge, and we were quickly through to Richmond Corner with the finishing line in sight. It was amazing that whilst walking towards the Red Lion a large van stopped and the driver put a £5 note in my bucket, just one of the many staggering acts of kindness I have witnessed at first hand throughout this project.
The wind was still causing us problems all along the front towards the Longstore and there was imminent rain in the air as we moved through to the Salerie. By the time we got to the North Beach we were all rather wet and the weather was pretty miserable.
The last 500 yards of this whole-year project was upon us, and we headed towards Boots and the final finishing line around 12.30, all somewhat wet but relieved that we had made it in good time, despite the poor weather on the way.
I was very grateful that the Guernsey Press were there to see us finish, take photographs and do interviews – their support throughout the year has been much appreciated and has not only raised the profile of Autism Guernsey but generated additional financial sponsorship for the Autism365 Project.
I cannot thank enough all of the walkers who turned out today for the final leg of this series of 52 walks throughout 2015, I was most appreciative of their support today which not only seemed a befitting finish to the project but added greatly to the fund raising.
Finally I would like to say thank you to my wife Angela for supporting me throughout 2015, her unswerving support in keeping me going, editing the weekly blog and getting stuck in with the additional ‘step cleaning’ project’, has been invaluable.
And finally, finally, may I take the opportunity to wish the Board, the professional staff and all of their clients associated with Autism Guernsey, every success for 2016.
ANGELA – I just wish to say how very proud I am of my husband for his tenacity and strength of purpose in completing this year’s challenge. He has battled on regardless of bad weather, family bereavement, and a broken collarbone – all at different times, of course! – but he has faithfully completed every leg, either on the scheduled day or on his own when he was able to do so. He has raised a fabulous amount of money for Autism Guernsey, very fittingly, as it was our son Andy whose baby it was, and who worked incredibly hard for over three and a half years, researching and networking and then establishing and building it up to what it is today. Andy also had the brainwave of Autism365, the challenge to raise £365 in 365 days, and Eric has raised at least 6 times that amount this year, so you can probably see how this became such an important project for us, and why we are so grateful for all the support and the donations received. Thank you to all who have read this blog and corresponded with us – it has been great to have your input.