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comments iconDay 31: Last day in England

 

Today walked: 9.00 miles

Total walk:  443.10 miles

Today raised:  £ 16.00 +  ¥ 600.00

Total raised fund: £ 9,588.09 + ¥ 71,555.45

After a month on the road we came to the end of the road in England (and Wales) at the Port of Heysham in Lancashire.

Originally the plan was to catch a ferry from Heysham to Belfast (via the Isle of Man) as we had done on my walk from London to Derry in 2013 for Save the Children. However, when Xuelin looked into the prices of the ferry crossing they were at least twice the cost of flying from Manchester to Belfast. We had said we would walk to Heysham and if we didn’t then we would be 100km short of our 1000km target when we reached Edinburgh.

We don’t often talk about the costs of the walks because this is our contribution to the fundraising initiative. By Xuelin meeting all the costs of the walk every penny is able to go to the causes for which we walk. This does not mean to say we don’t have a budget and work hard to keep within it.

Accommodation on this walk has been extremely for example the cheapest room available tonight in Belfast (via Booking.com) is £153 for a bed (breakfast is £25 extra). Even a small Bed & Breakfast Guest House on the way up from London to here has been running at £120. Multiply this by 31 nights and you can see why we are flying not ferrying from England to Northern Ireland.

Whilst the costs of the walk have certainly been mounting up Xuelin was worried that we were not doing better on the fundraising. We have completed two thirds of the walk and yet have raised only one third of the £50,000 target we said we were aiming for the UK Solidarity Fund of the British Red Cross. As is someone above was feeling a bit sorry for us Xuelin received a message from a business friend of hers in China, Madam Song who said she had been touched by what we were doing and by the blogs and wanted to make a significant donation which would be our largest by far on this walk. This generosity of the Chinese community in particular is humbling.

In another example Grace Tong of the Telford Chinese Culture Centre that gave us such a wonderful welcome noticed in my blog that I had written that I was unable to take photos because I was fearful of getting my iPhone wet. The weather has been quote wet over the past couple of weeks. Grace said that she wanted to send me a wet proof iPhone cover and it arrived when we got to Preston–perfect timing for the wettest day of the walk so far.

It reminded me of our walk last year in South America from Buenos Aires to Rio de Janeiro. We had expected to be battling the heat during the four month 1880 mile walk for UNICEF but instead our route took us for a few weeks into high mountains in southern Brazil. I wrote on one of the blogs that the weather was well below zero when the sun went down.

A few days later Xuelin got a call from the friend who work for Huawei (Brazil) in Curitiba (about 200 miles north of where we were) saying that they had read the blog and buy us warm clothing and blanket and someone was going to drive down return journey 6 hours to deliver it to us. I have to say that the British (or my) attitude would be to say ‘they should have planned the walk better and taken the right equipment’ but as I said many times the Chinese people are sentimental, kind and they like to help.

Actually you know, this is not right I think if there is a genuine need then the British are the most generous nation on earth just consider how quickly they consider to Disasters Emergency Committee appeals recently for East Africa, Yemen and Syria they are perhaps just more sceptical and want to be sure that the need is real and that their money will get to where it is intended to help.

So there we are after 440 miles of 625 miles and 31 days of 45 days we complete our walk in England and Wales. There have been many incredible memories of events and acts of kindness but I think the stand out moment for me was in Newport, Wales when two tough looking tattooed workmen in a truck with a salivating pit bull dog hanging out the window gave me two pound coins for the charity. What was I saying about the British not being sentimental?

原文 / 麦克·贝茨勋爵

翻译 / 陈彩

翻译校对 / 梁珍

微信编辑 / 赵一凡

总校对 / 雪琳