Posts Tagged With: David Weston

A night to remember…

Throughout every stage of our BikeSplashBike challenge we have been overwhelmed by the generosity of friends, family and complete strangers and our experience of organising our final fundraising dinner and auction was no different.

It was absolutely amazing to have Geoff Holt and his wife Elaine with us to help celebrate Daddy’s life and inspire everyone to give so generously. We are all so grateful to them both. When we first discussed the idea of hosting a charity dinner, we were warned that it was very difficult to make a profit and so we were unsure at first. It was only when Geoff generously agreed to speak at our dinner that we felt sure that we should go ahead! – So Geoff, Thank you!

Geoff Holt

When I first heard Geoff speak at the Winchester Enterprise Lecture, in 2012,  the host at that event summed up Geoff’s attitude to life by reference to a theme from Kaballah, that:

You cannot choose what happens to you, but you can choose how you react: and that choice can be an inspiration“.

Those words really stuck with me and often came to mind as we watched Daddy struggle with his illness and the way he dealt with his condition was certainly an inspiration to us…

Thank’s to this over flowing support and generosity we had a fantastic evening and overshot our £30,000 target. We are still waiting for some payments to clear, but we are pretty sure that the final figure will be over £40,000, which is far more than we ever expected! Thank you ALL so So much!!

We are so grateful to everyone who has helped us get this far and especially everyone who came to support us on November 7th and were so generous in their bidding at the auction! 🙂

In particular we have to thank the Royal Automobile Club for donating their beautiful rooms, Encore Entertainment for getting us all in the party mood, Geoff Holt for inspiring everyone to give so generously, Irene Tyack for creating two paintings inspired by BikeSplashBike and everyone who donated the fantastic auction and raffle prizes…

Thomas Plant did a great job at selling them and I hope that they are fully enjoyed by the successful bidders!

We do have a couple of raffle prizes which were not claimed – if you think these belong to you please do get in touch!

Finally – Thank you all for putting up with us!! This challenge has helped us immeasurably through these past few months by giving us something positive to focus on. I am happy to say that Cancer Research UK have confirmed that all the funds we have raised will be used to fund research into Oesophageal Cancer specifically, which will hopefully mean that less people have to suffer the way Daddy did.

A very kind man said to me at the party that if Daddy was able to fill a room the way the Mountbatten Room was filled on the night of our party even after he was gone, then he must have lived a good life…

Daddy did live a pretty great life 🙂 and I can only hope that he was looking down on us all content in the knowledge that all of our lives were the better for knowing him.

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Lake Windermere: Fell Foot to Wray Castle

10 miles. 9 hours. One huge mental challenge.

As we set off into the mist we had no idea how hard it would be…

windermere swim  12

It was without doubt the hardest thing we have EVER done. 

I think both of us doubted whether we would make it and I don’t think we could have done it for any other reason.

The first few miles were chilly, but it seemed like an adventure…

After a few hours, despite the amazing scenery and the fly past from the Red Arrows, it began to seem less fun… actually it began to feel like a hellish nightmare! All I wanted was to lie down on firm ground… At the halfway point I was dizzy and shivering uncontrollably! But Alice and I both knew (and Luke kindly reminded her at regular intervals) “if you don’t swim, you won’t get there”! So we kept going. Actually it was too cold to rest so slow and steady seemed the only way. I tried to deceive my body that it was warm by imagining that I was swimming in a huge vat of chicken stew… it actually kind of helped 🙂

Miles 7, 8 and 9 were the hardest as the wind had picked up and there was a lot of boat traffic so it felt like we kept swimming, but weren’t making any progress and as the water was at it’s deepest I was terrified that i was going to freeze to death! I think I had three mars bars in the space of an hour! Helpfully my paddler thought it would be motivational to lie about the distances – so when I had done nearly 8 miles I was told I had done only 6… Possibly the most demotivating lie I have ever heard!! I was NOT happy!!

Finally the red balloons came into sight and it seemed like we would make it. But the actual finish was around the corner and it took what felt like an age to get there… Mummy was waiting and both Alice and I were sobbing as she helped us scramble out of the water and collapse onto the matting provided for exactly that purpose! I have never felt such relief.

To be honest I think the day was almost hardest for Mummy – she must have been so worried and she had to rush around the lake from side to side to watch us as we struggled along. It actually takes well over half an hour to drive from Newby Bridge to Ambleside, which is some indication of the distance we’re talking about!

It certainly felt like Daddy was watching over us and giving us the strength that we needed. I don’t think we would have made it under any other circumstances…

windermere swim  32

 

There are so many people we would like to thank and so much more to say… but perhaps that is for another day.

For now it is still hard to believe that it is over and we made it… As Clint Eastwood would say

“Let’s not go and ruin it by thinking too much”

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On our way…

We are currently on the train to Penzance and it doesn’t yet feel real!At Reading Station

In some ways it feels a lifetime ago that we dreamt up this crazy adventure, when we had (somewhat delusionally) hoped that Daddy would be following us on our route taking in the best golf courses along the way… Yet at the same time the last few weeks and months have whizzed past at lightening speed and I suppose the most we can say is that we’re probably as ready as we’ll ever be! Hopefully Daddy will be watching over us (and ideally, blowing any bad weather away!)

We have been completely overwhelmed by all the support, kindness and generosity we have received from old friends, new acquaintances and some people who hardly even know us. Without all this we would never have even made it this far… A few people in particular have made an especially massive difference!

Danny at cycles UK – thanks for being the first to believe in our dream all those months ago and giving us such awesome bikes 🙂 when you asked what bikes we wanted and I just said “anything better than a Boris bike” you could have just laughed me out of the shop, but you helped us turn our plan into action! Thank you 🙂

Borut Strel – thank you for showing us such An awesome time in Croatia and kick starting our swimming training – your confidence and humour were just what we needed and hopefully your training tips will mean we survive our swim 🙂

Tori Gorman – you are an inspiration – swimming the channel makes Windermere seem like just a moderate sized puddle!!

Two people in particular (you know who you are!) have gone above and beyond the bounds of ordinary friendship… From kayaking behind us for 7hours in pouring rain to taking time off work to sort our bikes, our cars, our kit. We can’t thank you enough… And if you keep us afloat for the length of Windermere you will truly be heroes!!

It it is frightening how many people we’ve met recently who are suffering with Oesophageal cancer whenjust a couple of years ago I didn’t even know it existed. Hopefully the money we have raised will help in some way (however tiny a way) to mean that a cure can be found sooner… And hopefully focussing on that thought will get us up the tougher hills and through the colder patches of water!

Here is a video I watched recently when looking for inspirational pep talks – Randy Pausch famously delivered this lecture on “achieving your childhood dreams” when he knew he was dying of pancreatic cancer. It was his way of making a lasting contribution and leaving behind a memorable message for his children! His attitude is inspirational…

http://www.ted.com/talks/randy_pausch_really_achieving_your_childhood_dreamshttp://www.ted.com/talks/randy_pausch_really_achieving_your_childhood_dreams

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So Grateful, Humbled and Overwhelmed…

We have been overwhelmed by the all the many and various ways so many people have supported us through this difficult time. With relatives flying round the world to surprise us, old friends making wonderful and moving tributes and so many people offering their condolences both in person at the funeral and in many beautiful letters. We are simply humbled by all the support and know that Daddy would be so  touched – as someone wrote in one of the letters it is ironic that his funeral probably turned out to be the one party he would have died not to miss!

We couldn’t believe that even his gym sent us flowers…

The funeral was never going to be an easy day, but we were strengthened by the tremendous support of all our family and friends. We are so grateful to so many people, but especially Reverend Jenny Edmans for allowing us to use the All Saints Church in Brill and for guiding us through such a beautiful service; Esther Brazil for her heartbreakingly beautiful rendition of Laudate Dominum, which reduced us all to tears, but was the perfect send off! And S&R Childs for making the process as easy as it could possibly be under the circumstances and providing everything we asked for and many things we didn’t even know we needed. Daddy would have especially loved the yellow flowers which are still brightening up the house…

Perhaps the biggest tribute of all was the massively unexpected generosity of all who donated to the collection at the Church – even the Funeral Director couldn’t believe that we collected over £1700, which will go towards Cancer Research UK and hopefully ensure that others do not have to suffer as Daddy did.

We are also grateful to the fantastic recommendation of the Idle Rocks in St Mawes, where we took Mummy after the funeral for a surprise break in the hope that a few days away from it all would make everything easier to face…

It couldn’t have been a more perfect place and in the spirit of Alice’s poem, even the dreadful weather seemed appropriate…

I Live On

 I died but did not leave you.

I am here, and have not gone.
Though my spirit left my body
don’t be sad, for I live on.
 
 

My love is all around you.
Can you feel it? Can you see?
That gentle breeze upon your face

is not the wind… but me.
 
 

I’m the sweet song of a bluebird

when spring is in the air.
I’m the roses in a garden.
You can find me everywhere.
 
 

Whenever you are missing me

look up to heaven’s skies.
I’m the twinkle in the stars.
I’m the sunset, and sunrise.
 

 
I’m a raindrop and a rainbow.
I’m the ocean’s waves of blue;
So everywhere you go you’ll know,
I live on, loving you.

 

Despite everything we cried, laughed, walked (for miles!) and had a wonderful few days together…

On our last morning we awoke to an enormous rainbow encircling the town – perhaps we have all gone crazy, but we decided to interpret this as a sign that Daddy approved…

 

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