Reflections on a job well done - In the name of Thiago - Day 287


Simply wow. I am still in a state of shock from yesterday - it was an absolutely incredible day. I've spent today doing precisely nothing, which was exactly as planned and my feet are already feeling normal again. They don't look normal, far from it, but hey no-one's perfect!

I spent the whole day in a state of suspended disbelief, or at least on reflection that's what I think I was going through. It started with seeing my friends from Eastbourne, Aussie Dan and Jamie Hickey at the Ten Green Bottles in Stone before we'd even set off. My brother's girlfriend had kept that from me and Angelica, having given them a lift up from the south coast on Thursday night. I stood gormlessly looking at them through the window for what seemed an age, just not quite able to compute the information that my eyes were presenting. The day continued on in a similar theme.

Here we all were at the start of the day - not just any day but one of the most memorable days of my life. My wedding day and the birth of my two children make up the top three, so I'd have to pitch this in at number four. Every step of that journey yesterday felt different to the other 22 days. I knew where I was, I knew it wasn't far, I knew I had it all in hand. It felt like the purely processional stage that is the ride to the Arc de Triomphe in cycling's Le Tour de France.

Just as there was on day one, there was a mighty army of yellow T-shirted walking warriors. I walked every step but it felt like I was being carried by this absolutely incredible army of well-wishers and fabulous friends. I am so grateful to each and every one of them.

It was about at this point that I started to see a few people ahead of me. That's odd I thought, I wonder why they are all standing over to one side like that - not in an obvious place at all with the children's hospital entrance a good 300-400 yards away still.

And then it became clear. There was nowhere else to stand. There were people lined up all the way from just before this lady in the blue scrubs to the front of the children's hospital entrance, which you can see over to the left of the picture above. My legs started to turn to jelly and I just kept saying thank you over and over again as I walked passed all these incredible people, who make me feel so proud. And yet here they were telling me with loud applause, that they too were proud of me.  

As you can see from the video above, as I made the approach with the hospital mascot for those last few steps, I was emotionally in tatters. I never used to be someone easily overwhelmed but this was that moment. The waterworks started to flow not long afterwards. It was only later that someone pointed out to me that the constant beeping of the horns came courtesy of the works vehicles on site. Someone had gone to a lot of effort. The hug I had from Angelica was incredibly poignant. I never wanted to let her go. Between us, we have been through so much and here we were sharing a moment of joy and pain wrapped into one. That ladies and gentlemen is grief.

I even had a chance to elbow bop with the trust's director of communications, Lisa Thomson. She seemed to be very happy to see me, which in itself was a weird feeling. How many times do you meet someone for the first time and for them to be so thrilled to see you? It truly was a day of firsts! I'll never forget it for as long as I live. 

Before I consider having a lovely early night: these little beauties have walked me the entire 340 miles from the Victoria pub in Latimer Road in Eastbourne all the way to the entrance to the children's hospital within Royal Stoke. They've served me well but I think it's time for them to be retired to trainer heaven. I'm asking you my loyal readership what you think might be a suitable home for these loyal servants. Pop something in the comments section of the blog or on the social media stream to let me know what you think. 

And finally - he said in traditional Trevor McDonald News at Ten style - though my journey is over my fundraising is certainly still going strong. If perhaps you are a new reader and only just getting up to speed with me and my journey, then a donation would be very welcome. That figure is up to £21,181 and that's before Gift Aid has been taken into account! I am feeling so proud.


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