Monday, 30 June 2014

The Double Challenge - #walk2westminster - Arriving Home

Well we are now home. After a couple of days to rest and then a major family gathering to celebrate my father’s 80th birthday, we travelled home on Sunday afternoon, still a bit sore and weary but recovering day by day.

As we now look back on the past two weeks we feel a deep sense of achievement that we have completed the challenge we set ourselves. I am sure we will always look back on this time as something very significant, maybe even a once in a lifetime adventure. Who knows? But we are now back and raring to get on with the next phase as we focus on the General Election and getting me elected as the MP for St Austell and Newquay - 312 days and counting.

The #walk2westminster was something that came about as a direct result of me being selected as the Parliamentary Candidate for this area. I guess it was in some way symbolic of my commitment and determination to get to Westminster. It certainly has been an experience where I have learned a great deal about myself. Maybe I will write more about that another time.

For now the most important thing I want to do is say a big thank you to all those who helped us to achieve our goal. Although Anne and I were the ones who walked the 267 miles, there was a small army of people who helped make it possible.

First of all I want to say a huge thank you to Johnny Hawkins at Hawkins Motors who loaned us the use of his van to be our support truck. It was perfect for the job and we are incredibly grateful.

Also, to Ian Jenkins at Cornwall Signs, who blinged it up for us with the logos and pictures. This made sure we got noticed and resulted in a number of donations from people we met on route. It also helped get us an upgrade in our hotel at the end of the walk! Then there is Lex Dezigns and Tevy (Tony Goodman) who provided our clothing. Again we are most grateful for their support.

We must also thank all those that supported us on the route. The people that came and drove the support van: Neil Bate, Richard Pears, Stephen Rushworth, Jill Bunt, Josh Double, Alan Blasdale and Jeremy Culverhouse. Additionally those who joined us by walking with us for part of the route: James Mustoe, Phil Bunt (who did two whole days) Matt Double and Jacob Double. Along with those who gave us a bed and food along the way: Kathryn Swaffield, Jo Pearse and Jeremy and Sarah Culverhouse. We cannot say enough how much we appreciated their support.

We were overwhelmed by the level of support we had from people from all over the country but especially from Cornwall. The constant messages of support and encouragement made a huge difference and kept us going when the going got tough. We were amazed at the level of interest there was in what we were doing. My website received over 3000 hits from different individuals. We received many hundreds of ‘likes’ and comments on Facebook and I attracted almost 100 new followers on Twitter. Some of the comments we received from people, telling us that Cornwall was proud of us and that we were inspiring others by what we were doing were incredible and completely unexpected. We undertook this challenge primarily as a personal challenge, but we are delighted that it also seems to have struck a chord with so many others.

I must also mention James Mustoe who has been helping me to keep this blog up to date and posting the blog every evening from the rough words and pictures I was sending him. He’s done a great job.

And finally, but most importantly, a huge thank you must go to all those who donated. We are especially grateful to Dave and Mark Simpson who started the ball rolling with £1000 from Kingsley Village. But we have had over 100 individual donations and we are very grateful for everyone, whatever the amount. The total is now approaching £6500. This is incredible and I am sure will make a big difference to the two charities we are supporting. Once again Cornwall has shown what an amazing, generous and community spirited bunch of people we are.

So thank you to everyone who helped make our adventure possible, who helped us along the way and who donated to the cause in whatever way. But for one last time (maybe). If you haven’t yet donated here is where can -