– by Jonathan Fisher
During the last week of June, Shepperton Rotary Clubs announced that their annual sponsored walk would take place on Sunday July 4. Because this charity supporter has generously donated to Elmbridge, Runnymede and Spelthorne Talking Newspaper, I decided that I should show our appreciation by taking part. From the accompanying notes, it reported that any good cause could receive the proceeds of any sponsor money raised.
As many who read this will know, I have had no sight for more than 16 years so recruiting a sighted guide was my next task. Patsy Durrant, who has been an active supporter of the Spelthorne Fund Raising gang, agreed, so at 9 a.m. on Sunday morning, she picked me up, not literally, but in her car. Shortly after half past nine, we had arrived at the starting point, Manor Farm Car Park and registered our intentions to join the other potential walkers.
Divided into three groups of about twenty Patsy and I joined group 2 we were issued with a Shepperton Studios sponsored bottle of water and soon after that we were off. Making our way out of Shepperton towards the river our route was beside the river heading upstream towards Chertsey Bridge. Some boats passed us heading downstream to Shepperton Lock while two or three houseproud owners washed and polished their vessels, shining their windows, roofs and decks.
No drought threatened, in fact a fresh supply came from the heavens! To everyone’s relief, the sun soon came out and our waterproofs went into our rucksacks. Having passed under the Chertsey Road, we climbed up to road level heading away from the bridge towards Sunbury for about half a mile before crossing the main road to join the field paths back to our starting point.
Obligingly the sun continued to shine, well almost, as I was guided along the slippery narrow path beside the M25 just separated by a straggly hedge. The mild wet weather had created much new growth. Every few feet a fresh new bramble promised blackberries for the picking in a few weeks time. They were the up side; the slippery narrow footpath could have become the down side!
Very nearly on a few occasions, it could have been; but with audio prompts and an occasional friendly arm, I stayed vertical and also managed to avoid the many tree roots. Along we went, by now the faster walkers had left us behind but your correspondent was not for quitting. At about the point where a long footbridge crosses above a busy motorway, Patsy informed me from her Smart Health Monitor that we had done about fourteen thousand steps. We had already walked more than 10 km.
One of the route Marshals cheerfully said, “only 200 m to go!”.
Well, I had resisted saying the inevitable, ”Are we nearly there yet?”.
My suspicions were aroused by the cheery way he had said that!
Well, shortly after that we were passing behind St Nicholas School and then about 12.45 p.m. we checked in. I cannot end without thanking everyone involved with the organisation of the event from Catherine Black to all of the other Rotary Club members who had made it possible.
Patsy also merits much thanks for supporting me, well very nearly literally at one slippery stretch! Well, what about next year? No comment! Well, who knows?
If you feel motivated to dip into your wallets or purses, please feel very welcome, Remember, all proceeds will be split 50-50 between ERSTn and your local Guide Dogs fund raising team. Please send cheques, not cash to the ERSTN studio or the Coalition address:
C/O Surrey Coalition of Disabled People
Thanks very much.
Jonathan Fisher and Patsy Durrant.