On countdown – In the name of Thiago – Day 254

 

I blame Adam Hopkinson. I’ve barely mentioned him on these pages previously but if it hadn’t been for his intervention on two folds actually, I may not have done what I’ve gone and done today, which is to raise my fundraising target by another £5,000. Adam’s company helped to boost donations in the last 10 days by an incredible £1,300 and he reckons it’s quite doable. Crazy, foolhardy, call it what you will – for what it’s worth I’m going with brave. So, if I get nowhere near the new target, we’ll all know who to blame!

 

I’ve felt so much goodwill in the last few days and been overwhelmed by the level of kindness and empathy that has been shown towards me – not to mention the incredible donations – that it’s given me a new-found sense of confidence. I’m truly humbled for example by the fact that a local football club in my home town, Langney Wanderers, is going to do a bucket collection at their FA Vase game with Eastbourne United on Saturday – day one of the walk. It’s a gesture of tremendous human kindness.

 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m still a complete and utter emotional mess but at least I’m an emotional mess with a sense of purpose now! Sure, I’m going to need a few people to pull out a few stops, but I love a challenge and apparently God loves a trier. I think we’re about to find out either way.

 


 

One thing I’ll say about my workplace is that they are very generous givers. So, it’s a really desperate shame that so many of the things I could be doing to fundraise there are being royally shafted by this poxy pandemic, which I appreciate is a very selfish view of things. Having said that, if ever there was a year where I can say it’s ok for me to be selfish, then this would be it. It’s fair to say that last year wasn’t the kindest.   

 

I did another media interview today with Signal Radio; our commercial radio station in Stoke-on-Trent. The lady interviewing me found it really difficult to ask me questions about Thiago and it made me think that there are still a lot of people, who would prefer not to ask me about the little man who changed my life forever.

 


 

The reality is that yes, I do well up and start to cry sometimes when I talk about him but that’s not a reason for me not to do it. I actually love being asked about Thiago. I love him so dearly and I miss him terribly and I am ferociously proud of him. He really was a hero to me, which I know many people find quite a challenging concept to get their heads round.

 

I had a nice little chinwag at lunchtime with my old mucker Mr Jamie Hickey. I would really be struggling without this amazing fellow’s support. Jamie is a friend, an organiser, a troop-rallyer and just an all-round specimen of magnificence. He’s made travel plans, pub plans, given health advice, been an unofficial counsellor during some of my low moments and to think we only really started being friends through a mutual love for and loathing of all things Tottenham. It’s been a journey as they say.

 


 

Here he is sandwiched between two other fabulous chaps in my life Bulldog and Tibbals wearing a 90s flowerpot hat. I will have had one like that at some point and would have looked completely fucking ridiculous just as Jamie does here! These guys have always been there to support me and I’ve certainly not been shy to call on that support.

 

In fact, I’ve probably called on support from more people this year than I have in my previous 43. I’m okay with that and I’m ok with putting that on the public record. There is no shame in asking for help, in fact in takes a brave person to do it. My plea to anyone and this is something that I’m really passionate about, having done some work on this with my work colleague Sam Bostock recently, is to speak up when you’re struggling. It’s not easy but fuck a duck, it really does help.

 

Time for me to sign off and I’m going to do it with a massive plea – let’s keep going folks with the fundraising as old numpty brains here has just made the challenge even more challenging. Aaaaaarrrrrgghhhh!



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