Well we made it! At around 10.45am on Thursday 26th June we walked into Parliament Square. The completion of a challenge, an adventure and an amazing journey.
Unfurling St. Piran's cross!
The evening before we had walked some of the remaining 8 miles we had left from Richmond to Westminster, in order to make sure we were not under too much pressure on the final morning. These were very painful steps after that day’s walk but we felt it was worth it to make sure we could enjoy the final day as much as possible.
This left us with just 5 miles left to complete and our route took us from Fulham along the King’s Road through Chelsea, past Buckingham Palace and behind Downing Street and The Treasury into Parliament Square.
We were joined on this final leg of the journey by Kevin Werry, an old school friend of mine from Poltair. Kevin now lives just outside London and had offered to come and join in the final day with us.
As we approached the final stretch we first came to a sign telling us we were entering the City of Westminster. This really did tell us we were almost at the end. Then we saw Buckingham Palace and couldn’t resist a quick picture with our St Piran’s Flag. We then heard Big Ben chime. The famous clock tower has been the symbol of our destination for the whole of this walk and I must admit hearing the sound of the world famous bells felt really emotional. We could now hear we were almost there.
Entering the City of Westminster
Then around the next corner and we could see it. It was now in sight.
There it is!
As we walked into the square and stood in front of the Palace of Westminster there was a very strange mix of emotions. A deep sense of achievement that we had completed the challenge we set ourselves, and some had thought we would not be able to do. A sense of relief that it was over and the pain and discomfort could now end. A genuine gratitude for all those who had helped us in achieving our aim.
With my darling wife Anne on Parliament Square
A few minutes after we walked into the square our sons Josh and Jacob arrived along with our friends Jeremy and Sarah. It was wonderful to see the boys and for them to join in the celebrations with us.
We had hoped that the Prime Minister might have been able to spare a few minutes for us to meet him but unfortunately in the end his diary wouldn’t allow for it. So we were greeted at the House of Commons by one of our Cornish MPs and Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party, Sarah Newton. She had arranged for some of MPs to be there to meet us who congratulated us on completing our walk.
With Sarah Newton MP
Then we moved back out into Parliament Square where we were joined by a number of friends, some from Cornwall and other parts of the country who happened to be in London, others who lived and worked there. We really appreciated all those who made the effort to come and see us and provided the bubbly!
So that was it. We had done it; 267 miles over 594,000 steps over 13 days. I am sure we will reflect more of what this amazing adventure has meant to us in the coming days.
This walk was always firstly a personal challenge. It was something we felt we wanted, even needed to do for ourselves as a demonstration of our desire and determination for me to become the MP for St Austell and Newquay next year. We wanted to see if we were capable of something we never dreamed we would be able to do and thankfully we found we were. Now bring on the challenge to get elected!
But of course it was also about supporting two really vital charities that provide essential services to the people of Cornwall. We are amazed and grateful for all that who have donated to The Children’s Hospice SW and The Cornwall Air Ambulance. We stand at £5843.75 raised. It would be wonderful to make it to £6000 so please do donate if you haven’t yet done so.
We are now spending a few days relaxing and allowing our feet to recover and also celebrating my father’s 80th Birthday with a big family gathering in Swindon. We will then travel home to Cornwall on Sunday and look forward to being back in the homeland, seeing all our friends who have been so incredibly supportive over the last two weeks, Tom and of course our dogs! Then it is back to the election campaign from Monday. For more information on my campaign in general please see my website www.stevedouble.org.uk
And I'm spent!