This years fund raiser was a sponsored walk along the Mersey-Trent canal and finishing at the National Memorial Arboretem in Staffordshire.
We raised funds for the Royal British Legion and also " Patrick" a member of The Parachute Regiment who was seriously injured whilst on patrol out in Afghanistan. Patrick will now have to spend some years back at home being cared for by his parents, to this end the family home will need to be adapted to suit his needs.
The walk started Monday 30th May 2011 and finished on Friday 3rd June 2011
Day One Monday 30th May
All the team meet up prompt outside HMP Liverpool for initial instructions from Tommy.
They collect a few bob from unsuspecting officers going on or off duty.
Greg fires up the Quattro, well the minibus and off we set, too bad it’s raining but the normal banter starts and true to form we get lost! All hands blame Greg and Steve, pilot and co-pilot, ½ hour late we find the cut – Preston Brook Marina.
We get a great welcome from the staff of the club house who provide tea and bacon rolls – good start.
Still raining but we set off south at a good pace, very wet underfoot but again all hands in good form and making good progress.
Midday we arrive at Anderton Boat lift short stop to adjust wet kit and have refreshments – pint of course.
We push on through Cheshire countryside plenty of boaters but not a lot of other walkers, lunch time and second ‘pit stop’ but one of the team is having difficulties so he changes to backup vehicle.
The team makes good progress and by teatime we arrive at Middlewich digs, time to shower and patch up the feet.
Good meal a couple of pints and we hit the sack to prepare for Tuesday.
Day Two Tuesday 31st May
Up bright and early bite to eat cup of tea and off again, showery weather but warm enough.
First stop Wheelock for drink and sarnie from backup vehicle short rest then off south towards Hardcastle Tunnel and bridge 133. All still in good form.
Far side of Hardcastle Tunnel and onward to Stoke passing the Britannia Stadium, also Man Utd reserve training ground, Dave chuffed but very little mention of Barcelona.
Evening time arrive at Plough Motel, bit basic but again food and beer good, more extensive running repairs on sore feet then to bed for good nights well deserved sleep however some of the other guests at the motel like to stay up later and make considerable noise, some of the team showed great restraint, just wanting to give them some friendly advice of course!!
Day Three Wednesday 1st June
Again up early and tucked into a full English then back to the Trent Mersey.
Weather now dry and bright, the good weather uplifts the team and they make great progress towards Stone and would you believe it Village of WALTON.
Lunch time and arrive at Stone, beautiful part of the world with 3 big locks, time for more butties from the backup vehicle and to have a natter to some of the boaters who splash the cash into the boxes.
Boots back on and onward towards Weston, bridge number 80, no time to stop here we push on to bridge 78 and onto the roadway up to Pasturefields our stopover for tonight. Common Farm Motel, brilliant spot great accommodation, time for even more running repairs to help with the penultimate push on Thursday.
Made to local hostelry, The Woolpack, for research of course, Curry night and a great welcome collection boxes rattling and then back to the digs for a well-earned kip. Tommy and Matty got the Bridal suite.
Day Four Thursday 2nd June
Bright and sunny morning Mrs Pickard provides a fine breakfast and it’s off again this time towards Lichfield our last overnight stop.
The team is now making great progress so much that the backup vehicle is struggling to keep up. Arrive at Ruegely and have a little treat, a BBQ, time to soak the feet in the cut and prepare for the last push of the day to Fradley Junction.
Teatime, we arrive at Fradley Junction and would you believe it a pub – the Swan, known locally as the ‘Mucky Duck’.
Oh yeah forgot to mention – one of the team kept his keys to the digs. (taking keys home a discipline offence ?). Not on this trip just loads of stick. No names, but the culprit doesn’t like Barcelona.
Fab welcome at Mucky Duck boxes rattling and licensee made up with picture of his pub on the teams Tee shirts.
Time to go to final digs, Neatherstowe Mews – WOW – top of the range even a duck made out of a towel, Hey Ho we’ll just have to make do! The walkers deserve this bit of luxury but I think some of the lads miss the late visitors from the Plough.
Into the hotel for a spot on meal and after some more cutting banter it’s into the sack looking forward to the last push on Friday morning.
Final Day Friday 3rd June
All the team up bright and early again taking care of running repairs to feet and legs.
Just a quick mention for the member of the team who managed to get his socks locked in the washing machine!!
Again no names but if I mention keys and Barcelona you may be able to identify the member responsible.
Getting smartened up for the presentation at the Arboretum. Arrive back at the canal for tea and toast but café closed so couple of sausage rolls will have to do till Lunch.
Off again towards Alrewas where we leave our friend, the Trent Mersey canal, behind all the team in good cheer and eager to crack on the National Arboretum.
11.00 arrive at Alrewas and meet up with two other members of the Parade Fund for the last couple of miles, off the canal and onto hard ground. We walk along some dodgy roads with no footpath but still getting support from passing wagon drivers.
Arrive at the Arboretum – What a place!!!
Fabulous welcome from the staff and loads of interest from visitors enquiring about the fundraising.
Take some time out to look over all the marvellous memorials to every service thinkable, great place to finish a great effort by the walkers.
Now off to the train and eventually a pint in the Longmoor Club.
Time to say a big congratulations to the team and a huge thank you to all and everyone who donated to the walk.