Hello all – it’s that time of year when I have holiday remaining, the leaves are turning, and I need to get a few miles under my feet before winter arrives. So I’m off walking again and raising money for Combat Stress and ABF: The Soldiers’ Charity. I’m also dedicating this walk to the late Ray Washer RE, who died suddenly last weekend. I’m walking around 110 miles from Winchester to Gloucester over six days.
My route will be the Roman road north-west out of Winchester, past Andover (Icknield Way) then to the Kennet & Avon canal, turn west for two days then north towards Stroud around Bradford-on-Avon. Passing through Laurie Lee’s home village of Slad before I drop downhill into Gloucester. I have no idea where I shall sleep but the Lord will provide! If you live along this route maybe say hello!
I hope that you might give generously to encourage me! In the past, readers of the blog have raised many thousands of pounds for these charities (and Shelter). My thanks for that and in anticipation of your generosity this time around.
The link to the Just Giving page is here https://www.justgiving.com/team/Winchester-Gloucester
All the best
Thank you for reading the blog in 2016 and for engaging in lively debates via the comments section. The most controversial issue is the state and status of Paddy’s house, but we end the year with some hope that the Benaki will be able to make some progress as seen by their recent press release.
Teddy, Tom, and Patrick on the South Downs Way fundraising in December 2016
Please do keep sending me material. I probably say this every year, but I have a good backlog of items, many of which have been kindly donated by some of you. Forgive me if I don’t get round to publishing them immediately, or even quickly; it can often take me an hour or more for the more complex posts and time as you know is short and precious. My goal is to have everything up on the site one day. There is plenty of good material to come in 2017 and I wish you all a very Happy New Year.
The Like a Tramp 2016 Just Giving site will close in a few days. So far we have raised over £7,000 for homeless and mental health charirites. The most recent 2016 tramp has had donations of over £1,850. It would only take a few more donations to take us over the magic £2,000 mark. If you would like to donate in any currency, please follow this link.
Patrick, Teddy and Tom after a cold night in Exton church. A rare glimpse of the sun and blue sky which didn’t last.
Thank you to all who donated to Shelter and Combat Stress. Donations breached the £1,500 mark so we are very pleased. Fog and mist spoiled any views for the three and a half days we tramped along the South Downs Way which was a disappointment, but on the whole the weather was pretty kind; cold but no rain. As ever we walked like tramps seeking charitable shelter. We slept in churches and were offered drier accommodation near Midhurst which was a blessing.
If you would like to make a donation to help the homeless and veterans suffering from PTSD this Christmas, the Just Giving page remains open.
A Merry Christmas to you all.
Journey’s end with Billy Moss’ daughter Isabelle and Jody Cole Jones at Winchester Cathedral
I have returned. Some of you may have wondered if I had disappeared in a bog on my long walk before Christmas, others perhaps that there is nothing more to add to the Paddy blog.
Fortunately neither is true although the walk was massively hard. I suffered a bout of flu the week before and was quite uncertain if I would be well enough to start on time. The main symptoms did disperse, but I was very weak and probably not strong enough to tackle the hills and terrible ground conditions that we found (see this video here). It was not really until we reached drier conditions in Hampshire in the last two days that I had recovered my strength enough, but aided my by walking companion, my son, and the ever-present need to meet the target and raise money for the two chosen charities, we pressed on. We were joined by Billy Moss’ daughter Isabelle and his grand-daughter Jody Cole Jones for the last 10 km into Winchester. They wished to support the causes, and Combat Stress in particular, as they wanted to highlight their belief that Billy probably suffered from some form of post-traumatic stress which may have led to his early demise. The Just Giving page remains open for any final donations here.
Since then I have been in Germany celebrating Christmas with my youngest daughter Harriet, and then preparing for a new job which I started in the New Year. So I am now ready to get back in harness and present you with some fascinating material. As ever I am grateful to those of you who have been in touch with ideas and material. I look forward to a successful 2016 for us all and send you my best wishes.
I am very pleased to announce that I will be joined by my son on the walk this year. He has a close affinity with the aims and objectives of our walk which are to raise awareness of mental health issues and homelessness amongst veterans, and to raise £5,000 for two charities that assist them.
By Tom Sawford.
The walk dates are now set at 14-19 December, starting in Ottery St Mary in Devon and ending early Saturday afternoon at Winchester Cathedral. If you would like to join us for a day or so please get in touch.
You can support the two if us in our walk and the charities that we support by giving on our Just Giving page here. We would like to start the walk with £2,000 raised and have a way to go to reach that so please, please consider giving something – the Just Giving site takes all major currencies. Every donation helps, no matter how small or large!
Combat Stress is the UK’s leading Veterans’ mental health charity. Mental ill-health such as PTSD affects ex-Service men and women of all ages. Right now, the charity supports over 5,900 Veterans aged from 18 to 97, and spends over £15 million per annum delivering its unique range of specialist treatment and welfare support which is always free of charge.
Winchester Churches Nightshelter provides a vital lifeline to the homeless, and remains the only night shelter offering direct access emergency accommodation in Hampshire. They support up to 200 homeless people annually. There is a direct link between mental health problems such as PTSD and homelessness. Money raised will go direct to the homeless which I feel may be a better outcome than through a larger charity.
We hope that you will feel inspired to support the fundraising and make some (doubly !!!) generous contributions at the Just Giving page where you can choose to split your donations between the two charities if you wish.
There is a public Facebook page if you want to follow the progress. https://www.facebook.com/walkinghomeforchristmas/
Thank you all very much. Please donate here. https://www.justgiving.com/teams/likeatramp