‘The Grand Walk’
Children’s Hospice, Huddersfield to Sunderland Royal Hospital
‘The Grand Walk’
Forget-Me-Not Children’s Hospice, Huddersfield to Sunderland Royal Hospital
June 23rd to July 2nd
June 23rd to July 2nd
Walk4Louis ‘M’ saw the walking party consist of three long-time friends doing the full distance. The three walkers were:
Wife, Julia; daughter, Lily; step-son, Michael; step-daughter, Michelle; Grand daughter, Priya;
Warehouse operative for a drilling company called MGS ( Marton Geotechnical Services Ltd)
Favourite football team
Chinese , Southern Fried Chicken
Three things on my bucket list
Walk John O'Groats to Lands End
Take family to Disneyland
An intersting fact not many people know about you
I have epilepsy
Why I do the walk
I do the walk to help raise funds so as the 4Louis charity can provide keepsake memory boxes to more hospitals across the UK so as they can help bereaved parents of stillborn and neonatal babies treasure there memories .
Charity miles walked up to 2016
Son, Tom; Step-sons, Liam & Ben; Grand daughter, Mia;
Project Manager for Sainsbury’s Supermarkets Ltd
Favourite football team
Three things on my bucket list
Visit the Carabien
Walk from Lands End to John O’Groats
Drive a Ferrari
An intersting fact not many people know about you
I have size 14 feet
Why I do the walk
My reason for helping Paul do Walk4Louis was my sister-in-law Nicola gave birth to Holly in September 2009 but unfortunately she was only with us for 12 days before she joined the sleeping angels. So I agreed to help Paul in Holly's memory and to help raise some money for a charity that helps towards a subject that is rarely spoken about.
Charity miles walked up to 2016
Mark A De Leon
I have 2 kids, Rio & Atlanta plus I live with my partner Sheila & her 3 kids, Jack, Matthew & Abigail
In a hospital
Delivery driver for C & M joinery which is a stair specialist company
Favourite football team
Chinese or Steak with peppercorn sauce
People who just don't care about anyone else but themselves
Three things on my bucket list
Pass my motorbike test
Do a really extreme walk
Carry on raising as much awareness & money as I can for the 4loius charity
An interesting fact not many people know about you
I enjoy meeting new people & pushing myself to the extreme
Why I do the walk
I do the walks because I can help unfortunate families through the very difficult time they face when losing a baby. Plus years ago my parents went through a tough time when they lost my 2 brothers, (Sean & Clinton), & in those days there were no such help for them. So I will carry on doing the walks for as long as I can.
Charity miles walked up to 2016
This year the final destination was to be up in the Sunderland area so Walk4Louis got their heads together and deliberated where the walk would be from and to. Paul needed another 71 miles to reach 1000 charity miles and Phil needed 161 miles. It was therefore agreed that the distance would be at least 161 miles so both walkers could reach this great milestone. The walk would end at Sunderland Royal Hospital where it all began back in 2010. After the walkers had visited a few of the hospitals and hospices that 4Louis provide their services to last year, they were inspired seeing the work they do and hearing what 4Louis meant to them. They wanted to visit some more this year. After trying to find a suitable start point Bob McGurrell suggested looking around the Leeds & Bradford area as the charity provided to a lot of hospitals in that area.
Phil took this away and started to plan the route and after a few trips back to the drawing board he had come up with a draft route and gave this to Paul and Mark who then went away to get the hotels booked. After plenty of emails, phone calls and social media interaction the hotels were booked and the route was confirmed;
Day 1 Huddersfield to Bradford
Day 2 Bradford to Leeds
Day 3 Leeds to Wetherby
Day 4 Wetherby to Ripon
Day 5 Ripon to Northallerton
Day 6 Northallerton to Darlington
Day 7 Darlington to Middlesbrough
Day 8 Middlesbrough to Hartlepool
Day 9 Hartlepool to Chester-Le-Street
Day 10 Chester-Le-Street to Sunderland Royal Hospital
Walk4Louis then moved on to contacting the hospitals and hospices that they could potentially visit on route to see if they could go and see them. Once these visits had been confirmed the group decided to start the walk at the Forget-Me-Not Children’s Hospice in Huddersfield and from there would visit the following hospitals and hospices;
Day 1 Bradford Royal Infirmary & St Luke’s Hospital
Day 2 Leeds General Infirmary
Day 3 St James’s University Hospital & Martin House Hospice
Day 6 Darlington Memorial Hospital
Day 7 James Cook University Hospital & Zoe’s Place Baby Hospice
Day 8 University Hospital of North Tees
Day 9 University Hospital of North Durham
Paul then got people to agree to move the bags for them each day and with all this in place they were able to concentrate on getting some sponsors. Paul managed to get the further support of Phil Jones a business man who had supported Walk4Louis before by donating the money to pay for the charity t-shirts and he had again agreed to donate the money for the t-shirts. Paul also managed to get some compression socks donated by Kymira Sport and trainers donated by Hi-Tec.
With the sponsorship going well Paul then moved on to try and get people on board to walk with them during the walk. With the last leg of the walk only being 8 miles Paul really pushed this and tried to get people to agree to do it in fancy dress. He managed to get 25+ people to agree to the last leg and had some other interest in people joining for Day 2, Day 6 & Day 9.
The last thing on their list to do was to contact the press, which they all agreed to do. After a number of phone calls and emails they had some press interest lined up for the start and end of the walk.
The group had a bit of disappointment: just before the start, when their 4th spoke in the wheel Julie Ridley had to pull out due to family reasons. The 3 guys were gutted but fully understood Julie’s reasons and they look forward to her returning in 2017, all being well.
So with everything in place Walk4Louis were all ready for Walk4Louis’M’ with the M representing the Roman numeral M meaning 1000.
June 22nd - The Eve of the Walk
It was the eve of Walk4Louis 2016 and all 3 walkers enjoyed their last lie in for 10 days before getting up and double checking that they had packed everything. Mark and Phil were catching the train up to Huddersfield while Paul was getting a lift from his wife, Julia who had promised not to start the meter.
Phil got to Tamworth train station where he met Mark, who was already there waiting with his love of his life, Shelia. After they had said their emotional goodbyes, Shelia danced off jumping up clicking her heels together singing something about 10 days of peace and freedom or something. Mark had gone hair crazy again this year for the walk and had bleached his hair and had the 4Louis logo dyed into the back of his head. Phil then took Mark up to the platform to wait for the train and to try and console him and stop him weeping by telling him he would see Shelia again a week on Saturday and it would be here before he knew it. Luckily the train was running 10 minutes late so by the time it had arrived Mark had pulled himself together and they got on the train. As Phil and Mark chatted away on the train unbeknown to Phil the train pulled into and then out of Burton-Upon-Trent station. It carried on towards Derby where they needed to get off. As the train slowed to come in to Derby Phil said it was one more stop yet as they were just approaching Burton, luckily Mark had been paying attention and told Phil it was Derby they were approaching so with that they quickly grabbed their bags and got off the train. As their 1st train was 10 minutes behind its schedule, as they got off the train the announcer at Derby station came over the tannoy saying the next train to arrive on platform 1 was the train they needed to catch to Leeds. So they quickly had to get their bearings and find platform 1. They followed the signs which took them down a slope with barriers going across the slope, as they were rushing Phil thought they were swinging barriers and went into one expecting it to move but it stayed firm and he nearly ended up flat on his face, luckily for him he had his wits about him and managed to keep his balance. They got to platform 1 just as their train was pulling in so managed to get on and find a seat.
Meanwhile up in Cramlington Paul had finished watching his wife, Julia re-pack his bags and put them in the car while he sat in the kitchen finishing his cup of coffee. They then jumped in the car set the sat-nav and headed for the motorway. As they set off Paul messaged Phil and Mark to let them know he had just left and to find out where they were. They messaged back and told him they had just got on their second train.
On the train, which was not hurtling through the countryside, Mark took a phone call and I think everyone in the carriage knew what he was talking about as he was like the bloke with the giant phone off Trigger Happy TV. If you haven’t seen it go to YouTube I am sure there will be a video of it. After Mark had finished his phone call he went on his phone to play a gaming app while Phil decided to get some shut eye. Mark, although severally tempted to leave him asleep on the train woke Phil just before they got into Leeds. Here they got off the train and went to find the final train they needed to catch. They found where they needed to go and got there to see that their train was due in 10 minutes. It wasn’t long before their train was pulling up and they got on. Unfortunately there were no seat so they stood by the doors ensuring their bags were in nobody’s way. After a few stops they got to Huddersfield and disembarked. Mark said he was going outside the station so he could have a fag while Phil texted Paul to let him know they had arrived in Huddersfield and only had a short taxi ride to the hotel to go. Paul texted him back saying he was still about half an hour away as Julia was refusing to exceed the speed limits as she was a law abiding citizen. Phil went outside to find Mark, when he'd found him Mark remarked what a grand old station Huddersfield was. The square in front of the station with the fountains was quiet impressive. Phil having a strawberry blonde moment asked Mark where the taxis were, not seeing the taxi rank situated just off to the right with a line of white taxis parked up. They got in a taxi and Phil told the driver that they wanted to go to the Waterfront Lodge Hotel does he know it, the driver said he knows the Waterfront Hotel in Brighouse but there are no Lodges around here.
They got to hotel with Phil noticing the sign down the side of the hotel saying Waterfront Lodge Hotel and thought about pointing this out to the driver but then thought better of it as they hadn’t paid yet. They got out of the taxi and went into the hotel. They tried to get checked in, taking four attempts trying to guess the name Paul had booked the hotel in, they tried Walk4Louis, Taft and Paul before finding out it was Barker. They got two room keys so decided to take a room each and Paul could decide who he wanted to share with. After dropping their bags in the room they went downstairs to the bar to wait for Paul to arrive. Mark bought Phil a drink and they went and sat down. Mark and Phil had a bet, as Mark said that he thought Paul would share with Phil and Phil thought that he would share with Mark. So they texted Paul the room numbers and told him to decide by the time he had got there which room he wanted to go in.
When Paul arrived he didn’t see the two guys sitting in the bar and headed straight upstairs but Julia saw them. The guys told her to be quiet and not to shout him so she went over and sat with them. After a couple of minutes Mark got a text telling him to come up to room 101 to let him in, Phil was right. Mark went up and let him in before they both came downstairs and Paul got everyone a drink, his punishment for being the last one there. Julia was enjoying her drink when she had a lapse in concentration and dropped her glass which smashed and spilt over the table. Paul being the attentive husband that he is went to the bar to ask for a cloth while Julia picked up the broken glass fragments, Paul then returned and gave Julia the cloth to wipe the table with.
After they had finished their drinks Julia said her goodbyes and left. The guys got a taxi and went to meet Emma Blesdale at the Forget-Me-Not Children’s Hospice. They had decided to meet Emma today as they would have more time to talk and engage with her. They got to the hospice and after signing in at reception and chatting to the receptionist, Emma came to meet them and took them through to the conservatory. Here they had a coffee and chatted about the hospice and the kind of work it offers and carries out. Emma explained what the charity means to them. Emma joked that she was Bob best customer as she was always asking for help for things that were not always the norm to ask for. Bob being Bob didn't like to say no to anyone and always tried to deal with Emma’s requests. Recently she asked Bob for an adult size cooling blanket which Bob is currently trying to source from America. After they had chatted for a while, Emma said she would take them for a walk round, Phil asked if he could go to the toilet before they started so she said to follow her. Phil followed and she pointed to where the toilet. Phil hadn’t quiet seen properly and walked into the kitchen but he found them second time around. When he finished and came out Emma was just talking, when she finished she asked where the other two were; she thought they had followed. She was worried they had gone wondering off on their own. But she found them still sitting in the conservatory, waiting, not realising they should have followed. They walked round and Emma showed them the sensory room, pool, bereavement room, teenage room and music room. Phil noticed a large piece of wall art made of carved pieces of wood. Emma showed them that when certain buttons were pressed at the bottom different pieces of the carved wooden pictures would move and music would play. When it was time to leave they thanked Emma for her time. Emma said she was just finishing her shift so she would give them a lift back to the hotel.
After getting back to the hotel and wishing Emma well they went to Paul and Mark’s room and got everything ready for the next day. Once everything was ready they went to get something to eat at the Richard Oastler a Wetherspoon’s which was just situated over the road. This Wetherspoon’s had been converted from an old church and still had the organ installed and a mural of a cloudy sky on the ceiling. After a good meal the guys went back to the hotel to double check everything was ready. Paul was still feeling peckish and wanted to find a shop for a late night snack. Paul took Phil with him as Paul knew his sense of direction wasn’t the best. They went out of the hotel and headed to Sainsbury’s, which was situated just over the road. Unfortunately it closed at 8 and it was now quarter to nine so they went for a walk round to try and find another shop or a garage. As they walked along they were passed by three lads who were eating fish and chips and had a girl with them who looked a little worse for wear, she stopped in front of Paul put her fists up and asked him for a fight. Thankfully Paul didn’t take her up on her offer as it would have been embarrassing for Phil to see him get beaten up by a girl. They eventually ended up walking full circle, just before they got back to the hotel Phil spotted a Tesco’s sign. They went there, got some snacks and went back to the hotel to relax and chat about the next 10 days ahead. They set out plans on what needed to be done each day. As it was starting to get late the guys decided to retire for the night so that they would be fully rested for their first day’s trials.
June 23rd – Day 1 Forget-Me-Not Children’s Hospice, Huddersfield to the Midland Hotel, Bradford
Via Bradford Royal Infirmary & St Luke’s Hospital
Bag mover: Mark Duffy
Walkers: Alex, Mark, Paul & Phil
Day 1 was here and the three guys woke up in their own unique ways. Mark woke up coughing and spluttering before getting up & dressed and going downstairs for a cigarette. Phil woke up, had a shower, strapped his toes up to reduce the chance of him getting blisters and got dressed. Paul got up, turned his alarm off and went back to sleep for 15 minutes before getting up, going to the toilet and getting dressed. With the three of them dressed they all went downstairs for breakfast, there they met Bob Bridgestock, an author who Paul had got speaking to on social media along with Bob’s wife Carol. Bob and Carol who were originally from the area and used to work for the West Yorkshire Police Service were now bestselling authors who wrote crime novels about a detective call DI Dylan. As they sat down with Bob to have breakfast Bob gave them their first donation for their collection tub. They ate their breakfast while Bob told them how he and Carol had now moved down to the Isle of Wight. He also told them about his time serving as a detective on the police force and how some of the things he had to investigate had given him the inspiration for the novels he and Carol had written. Bob was enjoying tucking into a full English but told the guys and the waitress that Carol if Carol asked to say he had just had an omelette with a zucchini on. As they were sitting there talking Bob heard what he thought was a familiar sound of clip clopping shoes approaching behind him and told the guys it sounded like his better half, Paul was a little worried as he didn’t think Bob was like that as the clip clopping shoes belonged to a man in a suit. When Carol did appear a few minutes later Bob told her the mistake he had made. The group then discussed more about their charity work and the walks they’d done previously. Bob and Carol gave them some ideas to take forward for future walks on how they could get more support and help. They also suggested they do a walk around the Isle of Wight. The guys did like the sound of this especially when Bob and Carol said they could stay with them in their house, which had a pool and they would get them over to the Island on a speed boat. Once everyone had finished breakfast they got up to take a photo as Phil’s phone went off, when Phil answered it was a reporter he had been speaking to from the Bradford Telegraph & Argus; they were still interested in doing a story on them. Phil arranged to meet a photographer at Bradford Royal Infirmary at half past two. After he came off the phone they had a photo taken with the Bridgestocks before they went to finish getting ready for the off. As they went up Paul booked a taxi with reception to get them to the start line at the Forget-Me-Not Hospice. Once they had fetched their bags and brought them down Bob was waiting for them and told them he had cancelled their taxi as Carol would give them a lift down in her car. It wasn’t long before the bags were in the car, a convertible and as it was a nice day Carol had dropped the roof down. They said goodbye to Bob and thanked him for all his support and they were off down the road towards the hospice. As they drove along Phil did a video and posted it on social media. It wasn’t long before they had pulled up at the hospice and said their goodbyes to Carol and thanked her before she drove off and left them to get ready for the off.
It wasn’t long before they were back in familiar surroundings as they walked into Brighouse and past the Waterfront Lodge Hotel. They were soon heading back out of Brighouse though and started a climb up a long and what seemed a never-ending hill along the A641. On the way up the hill they stopped a couple of times to have a breather and had a photo on an old pit wheel in Low Moor. They finally got to the top of the hill and turned off the A641 so they could head towards the hospital. As they went past a school on the left a car pulled out and the driver wound down her window. She ask what they were doing and after Phil explain she grabbed the loose change she had in the centre console of her car and gave it to Phil, she apologised it wasn’t much. Phil thanked her for stopping and then carried on and passed the money to Mark to put it in the tub, there was 19p, every little helps. They were on a tight schedule so they could meet the photographer from the paper at half two, so the pace was quiet high and they made good time. They got into Bradford ahead of time so they decided to try and find somewhere to have a break.
The next pub they came to was the Second West pub, they decided this was as good a place as any to have a break so went in and ordered 3 glasses of coke. Just before Paul was going to pay for them the landlady appeared behind them and told the barmaid that the drinks were on the house and to get £20 out of the till to donate. The guys thanked her for her generosity and went to sit down. Paul and Phil sat down in the bar while Mark went outside to have a cigarette. The landlady joined Mark and he told them what they were doing, she then told him to take his donation tub around the pub and tell the regulars that if they didn’t donate she would put the price of the beer up. Better still she said she would go round and get them some donations. With that she took the collection tub from Mark and went inside and proceeded to go around everyone in the pub till they all had donated. Afterwards she gave the tub back to Mark, who had come back inside. Before they left they got the barmaid to have her photo taken with Alex. The guys then thanked everyone before hitting the road and walking the last couple of miles to the hospital.
The day had really started to warm up and it had become quite humid walking through Bradford. Approaching the hospital they had one last steep hill to climb, which they struggled up and got to the hospital and found the main entrance. They gladly found that the photographer had not arrived yet so they had a chance to cool down and not look so hot and flustered. About 15 minutes later the photographer still hadn’t turned up so Phil rang the paper. He was told that the photographer had gone to a place about 20 minutes away to cover a story first but should be with them soon. The guys were glad of the rest but time was starting to tick on, just as they were starting to think about going up to the ward the photographer arrived. He took them down to the front of the hospital and took some photos before taking their names and wishing them well. After the photographer left they got directions to the maternity wing which was in another building around the back of the hospital. They walked through the hospital and back outside and managed to find their way through all the construction work that was going on and found the wing. They were met by Julie Key and Julie Walker who took them to their Bereavement room where they had laid on some drinks. The guys sat down and enjoyed their drinks and chatted to the two Julie’s who told them of the work the hospital do for bereaved parents and how the charity massively helps them. They then spoke about the work they had planned for the room, they wanted to install a sky light in the ceiling to let natural light in as there were no windows currently in the room. After meeting some of the other midwives who were on that day, the group had a photo taken with the two Julie’s and the memory boxes the charity provide for them. Julie Key asked where they were heading next so Phil told her and she told him of a quicker way to go. Having the directions sorted they wished them good luck and goodbye and headed back out of the hospital and back on road.
As they walked along the road they passed some workmen who were having a break from working on the renovations at the hospital. The workman asked what they were doing so Phil stopped to explain then asked if they would like to donate but they all said they had no money on them, just as Phil was asking them an old lady walked past and she gave Mark some money. They carried on down the road towards St Luke’s Hospital. As they walked along Paul’s phone rang; it was an internet radio that the Bridgestock’s had set up for them who wanted to interview Paul about the walk. The person on the end of the phone told Paul that he would be live on air after the next song had finished. Paul passed the phone to Phil and told him that he wanted Phil to do the interview but he had to pretend to be Paul. Phil asked why Mark couldn’t do it to which Paul said the DJ thinks it’s just me and you doing the walk and doesn’t know Mark was doing the walk. So Phil did the interview and spoke all about the charity and the walk and did a good job impersonating Paul but was a bit aggrieved at the end when the DJ said well tell Mark well done and then said to the listeners if you see Paul and Mark please give them a beep or shout of encouragement. So Phil had done the interview and didn’t even get a mention.
As they approached St Luke’s there was a young lad who had been pulled over by the police and looked like he had been pulled over for having no insurance or something similar. Would be an expensive mistake for him as he was driving a nice looking Volkswagen Golf. They got to St Luke’s and found the main reception and asked where to find the department, after getting directions they found the department they were looking for and met up with Jan Speak and Dani Lowes. After having a drink and a chat with Jan and Dani they then took a photo of them with Alex before thanking them for their time and leaving to make their way to the Midland Hotel their base for the end of day 1.
They headed into Bradford town centre where there was a shallow pool of water with fountains in it and lots of children paddling in it as it was still very warm. Paul and Mark went for a little paddle while Phil took their picture before they carried on and soon found the hotel. As they were about to go in Phil noticed a plaque on the wall which said an actor call Sir Henry Irving had died at the hotel in 1905. They went and checked in and asked if their bags were there. The girl behind reception said she didn’t know anything about any bags but they might be up in their rooms. So the guys thanked her and then without realising walked straight past the lift and struggled up the stairs. It wasn't until they reached the 2nd floor and walked along the corridor that they noticed the lift, Paul commented that he wouldn’t be taking the stairs again today. When they got to the rooms they were disappointed to find that the bags weren’t there either. So they had to stay in their sweaty clothes and try to get in contact with Mark Duffy the guy who was moving their bags. At first they struggled to get through, eventually Mark got through and Mark Duffy apologised and said he had trusted someone else to move the bags but they had let him down. He said he would get on to it straight away and would be with them in about half an hour. So the guys decided to go down to the bar for a drink. They chatted about the day over their drinks, once finished Mark went outside to have a cigarette and wait for Mark to bring the bags. A short while later he arrived with the guys' bags and apologised again. He promised he would move the bags himself the next day. Mark asked if he would just send them a text when he had dropped them off. With their bags now with them they went upstairs to get out of their sweaty clothes and get freshened up before going for something to eat. Whilst Phil was in the shower, Paul had a go at doing a video diary for Day 1 but found it really hard. Whilst Paul went in the shower Phil had a go, he too realised how hard it was. He came up with an idea of writing a script out, which he would try later. Once they were ready they set off to find Wetherspoon’s to have something to eat.
After their meal, with full stomachs they ambled back to the hotel where Phil set up and did the first video diary and posted it on social media. Afterwards Mark chilled and relaxed in his room. Paul and Phil, who were sharing a room, did the same. As Paul and Phil were lying on their beds relaxing Paul was convinced something moved some money on the desk the other side of the room but Phil hadn’t heard anything. 20 minutes later Paul was at it again; saying he was convinced he could hear someone keep trying the door handle to get into the room, again Phil hadn’t heard a thing. Finally as they were getting their heads down and with the lights turned off, suddenly the kettle suddenly turned on and began to boil. Phil had definitely heard this and turned the light on and went to investigate. He turned the kettle off and turned it off at the plug as well to make sure. This freaked Paul out a bit and even though the room was quite warm he pulled the covers up over his head so he could go to sleep and in case the ghost of Sir Henry Irving came back for another visit. There were no more disturbances and they managed to get to sleep.
June 24th – Day 2 Midland Hotel, Bradford to the Cosmopolitan Hotel, Leeds
Via Leeds General Infirmary
Bag mover: Mark Duffy
Walkers: Alex, Mark, Paul & Phil
Day 2 began with the 3 guys waking up, Paul was relieved he had survived the night and had woken up without being covered in ectoplasm. The three got themselves up, dressed and got what they needed for the day before packing the bags. Once this was done they went down and had breakfast. After breakfast they fetched the bags down and left them with reception for Mark Duffy to pick them up a little later. The guys then had a picture with Sukhvir, who was on reception before heading outside to wait for two walkers who would be joining them today. While they waited outside they did their stretches to warm up but their stretches kept going as the two women who were supposed to be walking with them hadn’t turned up yet. After about 10 minutes of waiting Paul decided to contact the walker who he had the contact details for to see how long they would be. After a short while he got a message back apologising and saying they wouldn’t be coming due to her having really bad morning sickness. So they set off a little later than planned but in good spirits heading towards Leeds to meet Alison Bowes who Paul had arranged to meet at Leeds General Infirmary at 14:00 as she had to pick kids up from school at just after 3.
As they walked through Bradford Paul stopped to take a photo of a clock, this had been a bit of a theme on the walks they had done since the first walk and the infamous Morrison’s clock (if you haven’t heard this story we will fill you in on day 7) and Paul now had a thing about taking pictures of clocks so people could see the time as they walked though places. As they walked back past the fountains they past a shop that had a lot of mythical dragons ornaments in the window, Mark liked to collect these and commented he might bring his partner, Shelia and the kids up to Bradford and leaving them playing in the fountain while he went in to the shop to look at what they had to offer. As they carried on through Bradford Phil told Mark and Paul that their first break point he had marked on the map was a pub called the Greyhound which was about 5 miles away.
After about an hour and well into the suburbs of Bradford the 3 guys were making their way through a housing estate when Paul spotted a pub ahead and thought it was the Greyhound and so told Phil that they must be making good pace as they had covered 5 miles in just over an hour which was really good going but they shouldn’t stop and carry on, but Phil thought he had no intentions of stopping as they still had a way to go and were on a schedule to be at the hospital for 2. It wasn’t till a little further down the road Phil realised what Paul had meant and had to disappoint Paul that they weren’t as far along as Paul had thought and that they weren’t walking at Usain Bolt pace. As they carried on through the housing estate they were passed by an old gentleman on a mobility scooter and Paul commented he was tempted to push him out and scooter jack him to try and get him to Leeds quicker. A little further along they came to a turning and Phil wasn’t sure which way to go so took an educated guess but as they carried along for a short distance Phil realised he might have made a mistake so got the guys to stop while he checked his phone. After checking he had chosen the wrong way so they had to back track slightly luckily not far as Phil had realised quite quickly.
The guys walked out of Bradford and were soon out in the sticks walking down a country lane. Along the lane they were past at separate points by 7 or 8 horse riders. As they came towards the end of the country lane as it wasn’t very wide they were walking in the middle of the road. Paul commented as he looked ahead that the approaching T-junction reminded him of a previous walk him and Phil had done where he said it felt like the film the Truman Show where the same car would pass. As he was saying this the three of them never noticed a car approach from behind till the driver beeped his horn, this didn’t bother Phil or Mark but it made Paul jump out of his skin which made Phil and Mark laugh a lot but Paul didn’t quiet see the funny side of it.
The guys came into Tong Village and got to the actual Greyhound pub but it was closed. As they were a little behind schedule it was decided not to stop and to carry on so to get to the hospital on time to meet Alison. As they went along Mark Duffy texted Mark to let him know that he had dropped the bags off safely at the next hotel. At least the guys knew that when they got to the hotel their bags would be already there so they could relax. As they carried on Phil checked the route that they were due to take and as they were a little behind he did some re-routing on his phone, this took about 2 miles off the distance to the hospital so they were able to pull some time back.
As they came in to Leeds they stopped off at a shop to get something to eat. A little further up the road Phil needed to find somewhere to stop to use the toilet so Paul said that they should stop at the next pub they came to. Unfortunately for Phil the next 4 pubs they past were either closed or boarded up. Eventually they finally found an open pub and Phil was able to go to the toilet, a big wait off Phil’s mind.
As they left the hospital and got on to the main road they past the Leeds Civic Hall and outside were a golden clock and some golden owls to which the guys wondered what these represented so Phil took a photo so he could try and find out later. The three of them then went past Leeds War Memorial which had an angel on top so they stopped to take Alex’s photo with it. They carried on through Leeds where it began to rain. They briefly took shelter under a tree but after a couple of minutes decided to risk it as they just want to get to the hotel.
They finally found the hotel and checked in, the bags were waiting in reception for them so they picked them up and went up in the lift to their rooms, Mark was on the 1st floor and Paul & Phil were sharing on the 3rd floor. They were glad to get in to their rooms get out of their sweaty clothes and soon had their feet soaking in a cold bath. After having a bit of time in their rooms where they were able to chill and relax they were ready to go for something to eat. Tonight as they were a little tired after the pace they had set during the day they decided to eat in the hotel. So off they went downstairs and after a drink at the bar went into the restaurant to get a table. Once they decided what they wanted a waitress took their order and Paul asked the waitress about the golden owls they had seen earlier and what they were about. She said she didn’t know as she was a student and not from Leeds but she would try and find out. She went and fetched another waiter called Dec who wasn’t sure either. This was to remain a mystery so answers on a postcard if anyone knows what the golden owls in front of Leeds Civic Hall are all about.
After a nice dinner they went and relaxed in the bar and had another couple of drinks. For some reason tonight the drinks were going straight to their heads so they decided to retire to their rooms. Paul told Mark to come out to their room but Mark wanted to make a phone call first. So Paul who wanted to get some snacks for the room said while Mark makes his phone call him and Phil would go and find a shop. The hotel was situated in a lively part of Leeds and as it was getting into the evening on a Friday night it was starting to liven up. They walked along following their noses when Paul spotted a Morrison’s sign and started walking towards it, but as he approached there was a car just coming out of the car park. The passenger wound down their window and told them it was Morrison’s head office and not a shop. So a little disappointed they kept on walking but soon found a garage and got some suppliers to take back.
Back at the hotel Phil and Paul went up to their room and Paul text Mark to come up to their room but decided to have a joke with him. They were in 302 but text Mark and told him they were in 301. When Mark came up Phil watched through the peep hole and watched as he knocked on 301 when some else answered Mark apologised and he could hear Phil laughing the other side of their door so knocked on the right door and Phil let him in. After Mark had used a couple of profanities to describe Paul and Phil they then discussed the next day before Mark decided to go back to his room.
Once Mark had gone Paul decided he would do his video diary for the day. Paul being the perfectionist that he is took about 25 takes before he was happy with his video and he posted it on line. Now they could relax and enjoy the rest of the evening. The room they were in didn’t have air-con so as it was another warm evening they opened the windows to try and cool their room off a bit. As they were situated in a lively part of Leeds there was a lot of noise outside, opposite the hotel was a Cuban bar and next to that was a pub which had a drag act on who was standing in the door way greeting people as they waked in. (don’t know where Mark finds the energy from to do a bit moonlighting on the walk but then again it was the weekend and he doesn’t need much excuse to turn from Mark to Mary). As it was getting late they decided to get their heads down ready for tomorrow’s ordeals.
Via St James’s University Hospital and Martin House Hospice
Bag mover: Anna Turton
Walkers: Alex, Mark, Paul & Phil
Day 3 arrived and the walkers got up and went into their familiar routines. Once they were already they went down and had breakfast. After they had finished breakfast the waitress came over and brought the bill over. All three of them looked confused and questioned the bill as they thought they had complimentary breakfast so they waitress went off to find out. She came back and said that they would give Phil his breakfast for free as he only had a continental breakfast but as Paul and Mark had had a cooked breakfast they needed to pay £12.50 each. So reluctantly Paul paid the bill and they went back upstairs to fetch the bags and bring them back down to reception. Once at reception they spoke to the receptionist called Beth and asked her to have a photo with them. She was very reluctant as she didn’t like having her photo taken but after a couple of attempts to get out of it she agreed to have her photo taken and fetched her brother Dec who worked in the restaurant. Paul was on the phone while the photo was being taken trying to get hold of St James’s Hospital to see if they could visit. Once he got through they told him to ring once they were close and they would let him know but said it would be unlikely as they were short staffed. Once they were already and had stretched out they said their goodbyes and set off for St James’s Hospital.
They walked along the A58 for a little bit before heading out into the sticks and away from Leeds. They were setting a good pace as Phil wanted to get to the hotel by 5pm to be able to watch Wales play Northern Ireland in the Euro2016 last 16 round. They came into a village called Thorner and headed towards the pub in the village so Mark could stop for a toilet break. As they got to the pub a dancing six foot Olaf the Snowman (from the Disney film Frozen) came down the street being followed by about 30 children walking in pairs and at the rear was some Storm troopers. Paul and Phil wondered if this was a twist on the Piped Piper of Hamlin. When Mark had been to the toilet they decided to carry on as dark clouds were starting to form on the horizon so they wanted to get as far as possible before the forecasted rain came. As they carried on through the village they past the village green where the spectacle they had seen at the pub became clear, it was the day of the Summer Fete and there were rides and stalls all across the green. Unfortunately for Mark they didn't have time for him to go and hook-a-duck so they carried on through the village. As they came to the end of the village they spotted some Topiary which had been shaped like Shaun the Sheep so they stop to take Alex’s photo sitting on him.
As they headed back out into the sticks the dark clouds were keeping at bay and as they strode along they noticed the number of cars that were passing them had steadily increased and as the cars passed them at regular intervals they noticed that the people in the cars all had fitness gear on. This got them wondering what was going on nearby and as they made their way along they could start to hear shouts and cheering coming from somewhere nearby. As came to the entrance of Bramham Park there were flags and banners all over the entrance for a thing called Total Warrior which was an obstacle course set over a long run and it was proving very popular with the amount of cars parked up and the ones queuing to get in. Paul mentioned it was something he would love to try and maybe something to think about for a future 4Louis event.
They headed into Clifford and onto Boston Spa and came to Martin House where they were glad of the chance to have a sit down and rest. They were greeted by Mary and Emma and a couple of the other staff members and given a seat to rest. Emma went and fetch them a drink and came back with some cakes for them. While they sat and drank their drinks and ate their cakes they guys told Mary and the staff about their walk and why they did it and then found out what the charity meant to the hospice. After a good chat and a refreshing drink the guys got ready to go. Before they left they had a photo with Mary and Emma went and fetched them some more cake which she wrapped up in 3 foil packages for them. The guys thanked them all for their hospitality and just before heading off Phil brought Alex a broach as a memento of the hospice. They then hit the road and headed towards their base camp for the night at Wetherby.
As they headed towards Wetherby Paul kept hearing a faint loud speaker noise in the distance and wondered if Wetherby Races was on. But as they got closer they passed a billboard that said the next races would be in October so whatever Paul could hear it was not the races. On the outskirts of Wetherby they turned off the road and headed down a bridle path where they met an old gentleman who was out walking. They chatted with him for a short while and he told them about the area they were walking in and the wildlife they might. The guys tried to talk him in to joining them but he said he had better get home as his wife would be wondering where he was so he wished them well on the rest of their walk before they carried on down the bridle path. At the end of the bridle path they came to the River Wharfe and followed the river up into Wetherby before turning off on to a main road which would take them to the hotel.
They walked the final mile to the hotel in good spirits as they had managed to get there before 5 so Phil could watch the football and also they had managed to avoid the rain that had been forecast even though there were some very dark and threatening clouds now starting to roll in. As they neared the hotel they took some pictures before going into reception. The reception was very busy as a coach full of OAPs had just arrived and were checking in. Once they got to the front of the queue they checked in and got the keys to their rooms, Mark and Alex were on the first floor and Paul and Phil were on the ground floor. They were then shown to where their bags were stored before heading to their rooms. Just as they got to their rooms there was a large rumble of thunder and a flash of lightening and it wasn’t long before a very large thunder storm was over head and the heavens were emptying. The group couldn’t have timed it any better if they had tried. After soaking his feet in a cold bath Phil was able to settle down to watch the Wales game. It was a tense and close game but Wales managed to win 1-0 thanks to an own goal but they all count and Phil was very happy.
After a rest the guys got freshened up and went down to the restaurant to get some dinner. After they had eaten their dinner Paul got talking to the barman who told Paul he was from Newcastle so Paul managed to have a talk with him about all things Geordie. After a few drinks the lads were starting to feel tired after the exploits of the day so decided to retire for the evening. Mark went to his room with Alex and made a video diary. They all settled down for a good night’s sleep so they would be ready for whatever day 4 had to throw at them.
Bag mover: Paul Repottolee
Walkers: Alex, Mark, Paul & Phil
Day 4 and the guys woke up to the sun shining and got ready following their usual routines. Once they were all ready they went down and had breakfast before returning to their rooms to get the bags ready. Once the bags and drinks were sorted for the day they took them down to reception to check out. After checking out they had their photo taken with Lizi from reception before going outside to stretch and warm up. While they were stretching Phil did his first Live Facebook video to give their followers an update on how they were doing. After he had finished they set off from the hotel and into Wetherby. Just around the corner from the hotel the guys new all wasn’t well with the universe as outside Wetherby Police Station was Doctor Who’s TARDIS. While Phil kept a look out for Daleks Paul took Mark and Alex’s photo outside the TARDIS. As they walked through the rest of Wetherby the group kept their eyes peeled for any Cybermen and Weeping Angels. As they went along Phil go through to a radio station and did an interview with the DJ about the walk.
As they got to the outskirts of Wetherby they stopped and chatted with an old gentleman who was tending to his allotment. After a short chat with him and him not wishing to join them he wished them well and they carried on out into the sticks. As they walked into Kirk Deighton they came across a road going off to the right called Mark Lane so Mark had his photo taken next to it. A little further along they came to a village called North Deighton where they were passed by a group of cyclists and the one who was leading the way had a yellow jersey on like the leader would wear in the Tour De France cycle race. This made Paul smile and he cracked a joke as the cyclist was a little on the portly side.
After a while they came into Knaresborough where they went passed a Macdonald’s fast food restaurant, Phil asked if anybody wanted to stop for a refreshment or toilet break but Paul said he that we should carry on for a little bit further and stop off at the next pub they passed. So they carried on through Knaresborough and cut through a housing estate. As they walked along they were passed by a family who were out for a walk, they stopped and donated some money. While they chatted Paul asked where the nearest pub was and once they explained which way they were going were told the next pub was not for another 5 miles or so. If they had gone alone the main road through Knaresborough they would have past 4 or 5 pubs but the route they had taken made them miss them all. After thanking them for their donation and help the group carried on. As they walked along Phil felt he needed a call of nature and knowing the next pub was so far away got his phone out to check the map to see what was on route. About a mile walk away was a car show room so Phil decided they would stop their so he could answer his call of nature. They got to the car show room and Mark decided he also needed the toilet so Mark and Phil went in to use the facilities while Paul waited outside. After a wait off their minds and a bit more comfortable they set off out of Knaresborough and as they walked along they passed Ripon Sailing Club and went into the village of Farnham. Here a house was holding a garden party for what seemed to be the rest of the village as people were walking towards the house from all directions carrying selections of food and drink. Unfortunately they couldn’t stop as it was Paul’s turn to want to get to Ripon before 5 so he could watch Germany play Poland in the Euro’s. So they left Farnham behind and were soon leaving the road behind as well as they headed down a bridle path. Before long they were walking through the undergrowth and heading into some woods. In the woods they had to walk up a steep hill using tree roots as steps to stop them slipping. In their it was quiet humid under the canopy of the trees so they were glad to get to the top of the steep hill and out the other side and back on to tarmac.
They carried on walking through the countryside and after a while Phil spotted Ripon Cathedral in the distance. Paul and Phil had walked to Ripon before and new this sighting was a little bit deceptive and explain to Mark that although he could see the Cathedral it was still a bit of a walk to get there. As they marched along they were starting to get one cyclist after another whizz past them and after a bit they got more frequent and in small groups. Then after a little bit they started to see the same cyclists again, at first they thought it might be a bit of Deja-vu until Paul spotted that all the bikes had individual numbers on them and were in a bike race taken part in Ripon.
After what seemed like an age and with them very hot and sweaty they finally came to a pub, the Mason Arms in Bishop Monkton and stopped to have a break and a well-deserved glass of coke. They had a good break before getting ready to set off for their final leg of the day into Ripon. As they were getting ready to leave a woman walked in and asked the bar maid if they were still serving food, they said they were so the woman said she would go and fetch the rest of the family from the pub down the road and they will be back. After popping to the toilet they set off and passed the woman and her family as they got back to the pub to order their dinner. They set off down the road and out of Bishop Monkton the next stop being Ripon. As they walked down the road they passed a few measuring poles that went over 6ft in height which told them that the river must flood quiet badly round here, good job they hadn’t had much rain lately or they would be swimming not walking. As they carried on down the road Phil realised that they had walked too far and missed their turn off so they had to head back. But when they got back to where they should have turned off the path was fenced off with a locked gated. Luckily on the way down Phil had spotted a public footpath which would hopefully get them back on track. So they head back up the road towards Bishop Monkton. They found the footpath about half a mile back down the road and headed off road again across some fields. At the end of the footpath they came to the River Ure where they were passed by a jogger. He was running along the side of the river and Phil said we needed to go the same way so Paul decided to keep an eye on the jogger so he knew what was to come but it wasn’t long before he suddenly vanished, Paul wondered if he had fallen in to the river. As they came to a junction in the river where it joined the Ripon Canal a chocolate brown Labrador came bounding across them having been swimming in the river. When they followed to see where he was going they saw something very familiar. The family who had ordered food at the pub just as they were leaving were there and it was their dog. Paul and Mark wondered which way Phil had taken them if a family had managed to eat a meal and walk down to the river and get there before them. Not to be deterred too much and starting to get tired they just wanted to get to their base for the night so they headed off down the canal.
As they walked along the canal they past the 7 furlong start point for Ripon Race Course. At this point Mark asked something to which made Paul and Phil think that the blonde hair dye had got to Mark’s brain, he asked ‘which race course it was?’ They followed the canal into Ripon. As they went past a lock there were a family out kayaking along the canal. They were just moving their kayaks between the lock but the young girl who was with them was struggling to pull her kayak so Phil did his good Samaritan bit and helped her pull her kayak to the end of the lock. After a short while they came off the canal and walked the last little bit into Ripon and to the apartment where they would be stopping for the night. They followed the instructions that Karen Davidson, the owner of the apartment had left them to get the key out of a lock box on the wall. Once they had the key they let themselves into the apartment. Once inside they noticed there was a washing machine so Phil and Mark went on a mission to find a shop that sold washing powder and some milk, sugar and tea bags so Mark could have a drink. Luckily there was a Polish shop next door. While they were gone Paul settled down on his bed to watch Germany play football.
Phil and Mark returned after a short while with supplies and after putting some washing on they made a drink. Phil then rang a cold bath to soak his feet in and then Mark came and joined him as his feet were aching a bit as well. Mark only lasted about a minute before he decided it was way too cold for him but Phil didn’t want to take his feet out, but after they started to go numb he thought he had better get out before he lost total feeling and could walk.
After the football had finished they showered, changed and went to a Wetherspoon’s just up the road for something to eat. After a relaxing drink and a nice meal they headed back to the apartment. On the way back they called into the Polish shop again for some snacks. Back at the apartment the three of them relaxed and chilled out. Phil did another edition of the video diary before they all decided it was time to retire for the night ready for day 5.
Bag mover: Hayley Sutherland
Walkers: Alex, Mark, Paul & Phil
Day 5 arrived and as the sun rose above Ripon the 3 intrepid walkers awoke from their slumber and went about their usual routines. Once they were all dressed and ready, they headed out for breakfast. Today was slightly different as they had to go and find somewhere to eat. They went to the Wetherspoon’s they had been to the previous evening. After filling up their fuel tanks ready for the days exploits they headed back to the apartment to wait for Hayley Sutherland, their bag mover for the day. Back at the apartment and with everything ready they waited for Hayley. Paul got the call to say she'd arrived, so, taking their bags, they went out to meet her. After a short chat with Hayley, she wished them luck and said she would see them later. She and her sister, Kim would meet them at the end of the day’s walk outside the Black Bull in Northallerton. Once Hayley had left, the guys went through their stretches before setting off through Ripon. As they walked along Phil did another live video uplink to Facebook.
On the outskirts of Ripon the group turned off the busy road and headed up a side road and through Riverside Meadows Holiday Park. They then headed down onto a dismantled railway line. As they walked along the railway track, because of the rain in the night their trainers started to become very wet, by the time they got back onto the road their feet were soaked. They headed away from Ripon and back out into the rural wilderness. Going along a slightly narrow country lane, a bus came towards them and a tractor approached from behind, this was going to be a tight fit. The guys stepped back onto the grass verge to and give them some more room.The bus was a little too close for comfort so they took another step back. Paul took too big a step and nearly ended up falling into the drainage ditch that ran along the hedgerow. The vehicles managed to squeeze passed one another and the guys were able to set off along their way again. As they walked along through the village of Wath Paul and Phil started to reminisce about when they use to work together at Drayton Manor Theme Park and the people they'd worked with.
A little further down the road they saw a man trimming a hedge around quite a large field. He stopped what he was doing and asked the guys what they were up to. After they had explained about the charity walk he asked them to wait while he popped to get them a donation. He went across the road and into a bungalow. While he was gone a woman came walking along with two dogs so they had a short chat with her and gave her dogs some fuss. Mark was a little over zealous with his stroking and tickling though; one of the dogs started to choke. The woman put her fingers in the dog's mouth and brought its tongue forward to stop it choking. The gentleman then came back and gave them a £20 donation. They thanked him for his generosity and wished both him and the woman well before carrying on.
When they reached the village of Sutton Howarth, they passed a house that had quite a few yapping dogs the other side of a hedge. Paul and Mark thought they were safe until the dogs came racing through a gap in the hedge and started to chase them up the road, barking and yapping. Luckily, they were only small dogs so they didn’t have much to worry about. When they were a distance from the house the dogs stopped and trotted back home.
Just outside Sutton Howarth, Paul had reached a momentous milestone; walking 1000 charity miles! Phil did a live video link with Facebook to celebrate. During filming it, he played ‘500 Miles’ by The Proclaimers on his phone at the same time. Unfortunately when people watched the video they couldn’t hear Paul, Mark or Phil. All they could just see was their mouths moving, it was like watching a silent movie.
They carried on walking though the sticks until they came to the village of Pickhill. Here they were approached by a woman on a horse. When she reached them she asked if they would be stopping off at the village pub up the road. They her they would be, so she said she would probably see them again soon. At The Nags Head pub they stopped for a refreshing coke and a snack. As they sat enjoying their rest the landlord came to talk to them and asked which route they were taking. When Phil told him the way they intended to go, he explained that a shortcut they were planning to use wasn’t a public right away. It was only an access between two farms that were separated by a bridge which used to be a ferry bridge. People used to have to pull themselves across on it until a proper bridge had been installed. After telling them all this he said they should be ok going that way after all. When they'd finished their drinks, they headed out of Pickhill and on towards the shortcut. They found it easily, as they walked along the track towards the bridge, Paul was very much on his guard. He said that if he heard the 'B' of any bang he'd hit the deck. There was no way he wanted to be at shot by a farmer for trespassing. Luckily they managed to get between the two farms and back onto the road without incident.
They carried on down the country lanes until they got back on to a busier road where they had to walk in single file. Because they had made good time, they were starting to flag a little and decided to take a break on the grass verge outside Solberge Hall. 10 minutes later they carried on the last couple of miles into Northallerton. As they passed Northallerton Train Station Paul texted Hayley to let her know that they weren’t far away. As they got into the centre of Northallerton they saw the Black Bull come into view. Standing outside were Hayley, her sister Kim and their children. They chatted for a while then went to Hayley’s car to fetch the bags. Hayley mentioned that her mother-in-law would be in the pub that night and would probably come and say hi. They said goodbye and thanked them for all their help. They then went into the pub and after climbing a lot of stairs to the top floor (typical) they eventually got to their rooms.
After a well-earned rest and they showered, changed and went out, into Northallerton to find somewhere to eat. They found the Golden Lion pub and had a great meal before heading back to the Black Bull for the rest of the evening. Paul had arranged to meet Becky McGarva and three others who would be doing the walk with them the following day. Becky arrived and introduced the guys to her sister Aimee, her partner, Sam and his sisters, Gemma and Hannah. All four ladies would be doing day 6 of the walk with them and Sam would be moving the bags. They sat and had a drink and chat with them and found a little more about each other. The reason they wanted to do the walk was that Aimee had lost twins in April and wanted to give something back to 4Louis because of the support they'd received from the charity, Becky had heard about the walk and managed to talk the other 3 into doing the walk with her.
England were playing Iceland and it was showing on the big screen in the pub. Although England had taken the lead, Iceland had turned it around and taken a 2-1 lead. When Iceland scored their second goal Phil forgot himself slightly and cheered. Phil then had to explain to the group that he was Welsh and Paul said how he supported Germany and how they had changed their surnames for the evening, Paul was Paul Taftsson and Phil was Phil Barkersson. As they carried on talking, Hayley’s mother-in-law came and spoke to Paul about a charity auction she was trying to organise and wanted some advice. Paul rang Bob to get his thoughts and passed on to her the best way to go about it. After a while, Becky and the gang decided to call it a night as they wanted to be bright eyed and bushy tailed in the morning. They wished them good night and carried on watching the England game. When the full time whistle came Paul and Phil were quite smug about England losing 2-1.
After the football Paul, Mark and Phil played a few games of pool before Mark retired to bed. Paul and Phil stayed downstairs for one more drink and got talking to the bar manager. He told them he'd done a coast to coast walk 4 times. He also told them that earlier in the year he had done a coast to coast bike ride in 24 hours with his wife. There was an extremely drunk guy sitting at the bar wearing an England shirt he knocked over his glass of beer. Paul said he should go home and sleep it off as people who act like that should know their limits. After they had finished their drinks they said their good nights and retired up to bed ready for the next day’s adventures.
Via Darlington Memorial Hospital
Bag mover: Sam Oakley
Walkers: Alex, Mark, Paul, Phil, Becky McGarva, Aimee Hall, Gemma Oakley & Hannah Oakley
Day 6 and the usual routine ensued with the guys getting ready before meeting downstairs for breakfast. In the bar the manager told them the chef hadn’t arrived so they would have to wait a while for breakfast. About 20 minutes later the chef turned up, Paul recognised him straight away as the drunk guy from the night before who had knocked over his drink. He was looking a little worse for wear. The chef got himself organised and cooked them all a full English. After eating their fill the guys fetched their bags downstairs ready for when Sam and the girls arrived. They met them behind the pub and put the bags into Sam’s car. The four girls had come in their own t-shirts which they had designed. There was the 4Louis logo on the front and on the back was a photo of Lydia and Lucas; Sam and Aimee’s twins who were born as sleeping angels. After taking a few photos and doing a few stretches they set off.
As they walked along Phil was on the phone to his work, taking part in a weekly team call so he could give them an update on the walk and to try and drum up a bit more sponsorship.
The group headed out of Northallerton and soon turned off the main road and headed down a country lane where it was a little quieter so they could talk without having to shout above the roar of the traffic. Paul dropped back a little so he could do an interview with BBC Radio Leeds. As they hiked along Becky mentioned that she had a heart condition, not a great time to mention it as they were well down the country lane in the middle of nowhere. The girls discussed the footwear they were wearing, Aimee said she'd bought her trainers from Tesco’s for only £2.00 .The guys were worried she might suffer further on with only wearing cheap new trainers. They all also admitting to doing no training at all, Aimee told them that she won't even walk the 5 minute trip to her local supermarket, she always got Sam to take her in the car. Mark and Phil really wondered how they were going to get through the day. Paul finished his telephone interview and caught back up to the rest of the walkers, The girls tried to guess the guy’s ages, They thought Mark was the oldest and looked about 55,aging him by 13 years. They guessed Paul was only slightly younger at 52, aging him by 7 years. By now Phil feared the worst after they had added a few years on to Mark and Paul, to his relief they said he only looked about 31, 8 years younger than his actual age..
A short while later they were back on the busy A167 and had to walk in single file, with Mark in front and everyone else playing follow the leader, with Phil bringing up the rear. After about half hour of walking along the A167 they were nearing Little Smeaton when Becky began struggling. Aimee, Hannah and Gemma tried to keep her going but about another mile down the road, she'd definitely had enough. She sat down on the side of the road and rang Sam to come and pick her up. It started to rain and the others offered to wait with her until her lift arrived. She said she'd be fine and wanted them to carry on. As they set off towards Great Smeaton the rain was only a light shower. When they arrived in Great Smeaton Phil said there was a pub called the Black Bull Inn ahead and suggested stopping there for a break. Unfortunately, when they got there, the pub was closed. Luckily there were benches outside and even though it was still raining lightly they decided to sit down for a rest. While they rested Hannah decided that she'd also had enough and rang Sam to ask him to pick her up as well. Two girls down after just over 7 miles, the guys wondered how much longer it would be before the others dropped out. Aimee and Gemma were determined to keep going. Once Sam had arrived to pick up Hannah they set off again. While they were having their break Phil had noticed a garage on his map about a mile up the road. They scheduled a stop there so they could go to the toilet. At the garage everyone used the facilities and bought some refreshments from the shop. As they were about to leave an old guy who worked at the garage asked about what they were doing and where they were going. He told them that they needed to be careful as the route they were going had a gated bridge which is sometimes locked. He told a story of a group of walkers who'd had to strip off and wade across the river when they found the bridge locked! Phil was sure this wouldn't be the case for them and told Paul not to worry about it.
It wasn’t long before they were turning off the A167 and heading down a farmer's track, out into the sticks across a farm. As they walked along Paul called Christine Dowson to check they were still good to call in at Darlington Memorial Hospital, she said it would be fine and that she would see them in a while. Thankfully the light drizzle had eased off as they ambled along. Sam gave Aimee a call to ask how it was going and to make sure they hadn’t dropped out. Aimee said they couldn’t drop out now even if they wanted to because she had no idea where they were. Walked through the farm yard, Paul dropped back a little to chat with Aimee. He noticed she had attached two of the 4Louis memory box teddies around her wrists using 4Louis wrist bands. Aimee told them of the heart-breaking loss of Lucas and Lydia. Hearing about her desperately painful experience spurred the guys on to keep going, No physical pain they endured during their walk would even come close to the emotional devastation that parents and their families to go through when losing little ones.
As they walked along they saw a cow beside a barn staring at them menacingly. The group were a little nervous as they tried to pass it without it coming towards them, What they hadn't noticed was a herd of cows coming through a gap in the hedge behind them. When Paul spotted them they hurried towards the gate at the end of the field with the farmyard the other side. Luckily they all managed to get through the muddy field before the cows got them. As they walked passed the farmhouse, a woman came out to get in to her car. She asked them what they were up to and explained that they weren't on a public right of way. She told them about the same gate as the man at the garage had. It was only a short distance ahead and was sometimes locked. She told them that if it was locked they would have to wade across the River Tees. Thankfully she must have felt sorry for them as she said she would leave it open for them after she'd driven through. With that she jumped in her car and drove up towards the bridge. The group followed on behind, grateful for her kind gesture. As they started to cross the bridge the rain returned, this time a lot heavier Phil noticed that they weren't far Hurworth-on-Tees, where there was a pub. They decided to go there for a comfort break and to get out of the rain for a while. The Emerson Arms though was closed when they got there. As they'd walked towards the pub Phil noticed a restaurant called the Otter and Fish so they headed back towards that. It was still open but as they went inside though, a waitress told them it was closing in 5 minutes. They asked if they could use the toilet and she said it was ok so they all took a comfort break. When they looked outside they saw that the rain was now torrential and was bouncing off the ground. The waitress said they could take a seat for five minutes. She rang round the local area to find an open pub that they could make their way to. After a few minute she returned and told them that The Tawny Owl was open all day. Phil consulted his map and saw that it was on their route. While sitting in the restaurant, sheltering from the weather. Gemma told them that her toe was hurting. She thought she may have ripped her toe-nail off and when they looked down at her right foot there saw a red spot forming on her white trainers She said she was ok to carry on though. Ten minutes later the rain appeared to have eased slightly and they decided to make a dash for it.
The rain hadn’t eased much as they'd hoped, very unfortunate for Aimee and Gemma who didn't have coats. They made their way out of Hurworth-on-Tees. Being total gentlemen, Paul and Phil offered them the use of their coats but they said they would be fine. Mark, Paul & Phil didn’t want to feel like southern softies by putting theirs on so they left them in the bag. As they headed down a lane there were large puddles all along the road. They watched the cars as they drove though each puddle, sending a large wave of water flying off to the side. They made their way up the lane and had to play dodge the puddles. Luckily as each car or bus came up the lane they slowed down to a crawl so they didn't drench the walkers.
Gemma and Aimee were really starting to struggle as they continued to walk, especially Gemma because her toe was really starting to hurt. They refused to quit and were determined to reach the finish. Each time they dropped back Phil would check if they were ok and tried to keep them motivated. It seemed like an age of walking through the rain before the weary group of finally got to the Tawny Owl. They went inside to try and dry off using the hand driers in the toilets. Mark, unlike the other two didn't wear base layers so once he'd taken off his t-shirt rather than get the ladies hot under the collar with his ripped torso he put his coat on. Paul ordered everyone a hot drink from the bar and also managed to get a plaster for Gemma’s toe which had become incredibly painful. With the rain's help t her trainer had turned pink from the blood. She went to the toilets with Aimee to sort her foot out. She came back a little happier and more comfortable, she told them that her nail was actually fine. It turned out that a really bad blister had burst was bleeding. The guys asked them if she wanted to throw in the towel but they were determined to make it to the end. These were two very brave, strong and maybe a little stubborn ladies. Once they had finished their drinks they headed back out into the rain and towards Darlington and the Memorial Hospital.
After plodding through Darlington without incident they finally got to the hospital, very wet and weary. They took a lift up the maternity ward and pressed the buzzer. When someone came they didn’t know anything about their visit. They were a little later getting to the hospital than they'd estimated. The midwife who had known all about them coming had finished her shift and gone home but had forgotten to inform anyone the arrangements. They were shown to a room where they could rest a while and brought a hot drink each. The midwives then spent some time with them while they drank their drinks. They chatted with the guys about their journey and the reasons for doing the charity walk each year. They had a couple of photos taken with the midwives before thanking them for their time and hospitality. They waited for the lift back downstairs but when it came it was pretty full so Mark and the girls went down in the first lift, Paul and Phil would follow in the next one.Aimee and Gemma finally admitted defeat and rang Sam to come and pick them up. Mark went with the girls to the car park to wait for Sam to arrive. Meanwhile Paul and Phil got into the next lift and pressed the G button for the ground floor. The lift went down, when the doors opened Paul and Phil got out. They turned left but there was a ward at the end of the corridor. Phil was slightly confused as he was sure they were supposed to turn left when they came out of the lift. Undeterred and thinking he was just disorientated, they turned and walked the other way down the corridor. There was a ward this end of the corridor as well. This really confused Phil until he noticed a sign on the wall outside the lift. They had got of on floor 3 and not the ground, a proper blonde moment by the pair of them. They called for the lift again determined to make it to the ground floor this time. When the lift arrived there was a lady inside who noticed their t-shirts and asked what they were doing. Paul explained and then they finally reached they ground floor. The lady gave them a few pound coins donation and apologised for not giving more but that was all she had on her. They thanked her and said that every little bit helps. They went outside to the car park and met up with the others. Phil checked the app on his phone and announced to the girls that they had walked 20 miles today. Aimee and Gemma couldn’t believe it, especially Aimee in her £2 Tesco trainers. She asked Paul to make sure to post it on Facebook, as nobody would believe her if she told them herself. Everyone knew she never walked anywhere. Whilst they continued to wait Paul got a text from the person who was supposed to be moving the bags the next day saying they could no longer do it. Paul began to worry about how they were going to get the bags moved. Aimee helpfully volunteered Sam to do it. Paul and Phil came up with an idea to try and speed things along. Paul told Mark to wait with the girls and go with Sam to the hotel to help with the bags and start to get freshened up while he and Phil walked the last mile to the hotel. Phil and Paul set off and after about 5 minutes Sam drove past in a different car to the one they had seen him in early that day, he beeped his horn. Following behind was by Gemma’s boyfriend with his boy racer exhaust rumbling loudly. A couple of minutes later they drove passed again with Sam beeping and Mark waving. Gemma was following in the next car. Phil and Paul stopped off at a shop to get some snacks, before finally getting to the hotel where greeted by Paula. She showed them up to the room which they were all sharing. She knocked on the door and was greeted by Mark in his novelty boxer shorts, what a pleasant sight she must have thought.
Via James Cook University Hospital & Zoe’s Place Baby Hospice
Bag mover: Sam Oakley
Walkers: Alex, Mark, Paul & Phil
Day 7 As the sun rose crept over the horizon the three lads awoke and followed their own rituals to get themselves ready to go for breakfast. There was no cooked breakfast availabe so Mark and Paul had to do without their bacon and eggs and make do with cereal and toast. After they had filled their fuel tanks ready for the day’s toils, they went back upstairs to finish getting the bags ready. The forecast had predicted heavy rain so the guys packed the wet weather gear. They took their bags downstairs and waited outside for Sam to arrive. Aimee text Paul to say they were running a little late because they had to stop for fuel. When Sam arrived, Aimee was with him, which surprised the guys; she had managed to get up early and what surprised them even more was that she was wearing knee high boots with heels. How she managed to get her feet in them let along walk in them flabbergasted them. Aimee told them she was completely shattered yesterday evening but enjoyed the day with the guys and told them the other three girls were not too bad either all things considered. After loading up the car they thanked Sam and Aimee for all their help and support. They wished them well before saying goodbye and waving them off. The lads did their stretches before heading off through Darlington with the sun shining.
As they reached the outskirts of Darlington, Phil and Paul saw a blast from the past; it was Morton Park Premier Inn, a hotel they had stopped in twice before doing when doing their walks. They not so fondly remembered the first time they stopped there on the evening of the first day of their very first walk back in 2010. They’d had trouble finding it after walking over 30 miles. John Appleby a long-time supporter of Walk4Louis was walking with them that day. Followers of the walk diaries will recall the Morrison clock fiasco (see day 1 of the very first walk). Mark needed to go to the toilet so Paul and Phil waited outside while Mark popped into the Premier Inn to use their toilet before they carried on.
About 10 minutes up the road the sunshine that they had started in had now disappeared and dark clouds had rolled in overhead. The guys felt the first spots of rain on their heads. When they came up to a bus shelter they decided it would be a good point to pullover and get their wet weather gear on. They knew this rain would last for a while. Once their coats were on they set off again, it was not long before the rain well and truly set in. The guys were walking in single file with their heads down and their morale slowly ebbing away.
After approximately six miles, they were supposed to stop at a pub called The Vane in Long Newton but when they go there, it was closed. Thankfully opposite was a bus stop, which they used to have a 10-minute break out of the rain and to do a bag swap. After their short break they set off again, it really was not proving to be their day as the rain got even heavier. Their shower proof coats gave up being rain resistant and the moisture began to seep through. The morale was hitting the ground harder than their feet. A little further up the road they arrived at the Sutton Arms which was open. Paul suggested stopping off for a coffee and to warm up. He knew they had only recently stopped and that it would put them behind schedule but they needed to stop and get out of the rain for a while. Once inside they took their soaking wet coats off and put them on the back of some chairs. After a good break and a hot drink inside them they put their still soaking wet coats back on and set off, back out into the unrelenting rain.
The morale was getting lower with every passing mile because of the horrendous weather. They plodded on they until they reached Stockton-On-Tees. With the rain not letting up and their coats no longer giving any real protection, the group finally got to their next break point 11 miles in. The guys didn’t normally stop for lunch but decided to make an exception so they could try and warm up with some hot food. They went in to Burger King and each ordered a meal. While they sat and ate, Paul noticed that Rachel from Zoe’s Place had tried to call him but he’d missed her call as his phone had been in his pocket and he hadn’t heard it ring. She left him a message asking about their ETA and asked him to call her back. Paul returned her call but she was on her lunch so he left her a message to ring him. James Cook Hospital was the first point of call and although they were only about an hour and a half away they were behind schedule Phil thought it would be a good idea to ring and give them a new ETA while they were out of the rain. Once they had all finished their food it was time to head back out into the rain. Thankfully though while they’d been inside, it had eased up a lot and was only raining lightly. It wasn’t long before the rain stopped all together and the remainder of the way to the hospital was in relative sunshine. They were able to finally take off their wet coats. As they neared the hospital Rachel called Paul and told him that she probably wouldn’t be at Zoe's Place when they got arrived because she had to pick up her child, but there would be some cake and a nice cup of tea waiting for them.
They were finally glad to see a sign on a gate saying Zoe’s Place so went through but were and little disorientated until they realised they had come through the back entrance. They found the front door and rang the bell, a lady came to a different door to the side and told them Nicky was just coming round to them. Nicky came and let them in and took them through to a sitting room where hot drinks and cake were waiting for them. They sat and chatted with Nicky while they enjoyed their very welcome refreshments. She was quite interested in what they were doing as she was a keen runner and was in training to do the Great North Run. She had done the run quite a few times with her partner. After they had finished their drinks, she took them for a quick tour. They were preparing to get the few kids they had staying with them to bed. After the tour they had a quick photo and bought a badge for Alex before setting off.
As they set off down the road back the way they’d come all three of them were running on empty. Paul asked Phil how much further they had to go. It was still another 6 miles, approximately 2 to 3 hours walking and it was already getting on for 7.30pm. The three of them were worried about what time food was available until at the hotel. They agreed to get a taxi to the hotel and make up the mileage and the places they were due to pass the following day. They came to a pub and googled for a taxi company and rang one to pick them up outside of the pub. Ten minutes later it arrived and took them to the hotel. They checked in and went upstairs and quickly got showered and changed before going down for dinner. While they ate in the restaurant, Phil noticed an I-pad on the floor next to their table and did his good deed for the day; he handed it to the waitress in case anybody came to claim it. After they had finished their food, they had another couple of drinks then went up to bed to recharge their batteries ready for day 8.
Bag mover: Darren Dundas
Walkers: Alex, Mark, Paul & Phil
Day 8 was here and thankfully Michael Fish had predicted good weather and ensured them that there were no hurricanes on the way. Whilst getting themselves ready for the day ahead Paul contacted Kirsty to see if she had managed to get hold of The University Hospital of North Tees. So far, between them, neither had been able to get hold of anyone to confirm if they could visit or not. Kirsty told Paul that she still hadn’t managed to contact anybody. Paul passed this on to Phil and they decided not to go to the hospital. With extra miles to make up from the day before Phil devised a new route, without losing any of day 8’s mileage. With the re-route done Paul and Phil took their bags and went to meet Mark downstairs. They dropped the bags off in reception in case Darren Dundas, the bag mover for the day, arrived while they were having breakfast. The guys went and had a filling breakfast. Once they’d finished, Mark went outside for a cigarette.
Just as Phil and Paul were about pop back up to the room, Darren called Paul to say he was lost just around the corner from the hotel. He was struggling to find the entrance so Paul and Phil went to see if they could see him to help him. With no sign of him around the front of the hotel, Paul went walking towards the car park at back to check if he was there. Phil went walking up the street to see if he could see him coming. Just then a car came around the corner and beeped his horn. Paul recognised the car straight away and knew Darren had managed to find his own way. Paul and Phil fetched the bags and loaded them into the car. After a short chat with Darren they thanked him for his help and waved him off. They then went back into the hotel to find Mark. After a couple of minutes, he appeared in reception, so they all checked out. They asked the receptionist if they could have a photo with her, she agreed but then asked if they minded if she rang the hotel manager to join them. The guys didn’t mind, the more the merrier. A couple of minutes later two of the hotel senior managers arrived and had their photo taken with them along with the receptionist. They exchanged social media addresses with the hotel promising to follow and support. The hotel staff wished them all luck. The guys then headed outside to stretch out before they set off on their revised day 8 of the walk.Paul, Phil and Mark headed towards their first stop of the day which would be the Riverside Stadium; home of Middlesbrough Football Club. They needed to walk at a good pace as Paul wanted to buy his daughter, Lily a present, something he did every year during the walk. He wanted to get to Hartlepool before the shops shut at around five o’clock. As they headed towards the football ground they went passed Middlesbrough College where there were some very large chairs outside. Paul and Mark both had their photos taken sitting on them and looked slightly weird on such enormous chairs.
They carried on along the path until they got to the bridge where they went back onto the road to crossed over it. A little further on after crossing the bridge they saw a rabbit next to a tree and as they got closer it didn’t move. Phil took a photo of the rabbit and it still didn’t move Paul was beginning to think it was dead but as Phil tried to get even closer to investigated, it suddenly woke up and shot into the bushes by the side of the path. They carried on towards a roundabout when off to the other side of the road Phil spotted the Metro Inn and pointed it out to Paul. They remembered staying there a couple of years ago, they were not altogether fond memories. It had been, without comparison, the worst hotel they had stayed in whilst doing their walks. It was so bad it was funny and they left as they reminisced about the shower, the very small room and the three legged dog. As they carried on to the roundabout they saw a sign that pointed back towards Middlesbrough stating it was two miles away, about ten yards further round there was another sign stating that it was two and a half miles to Middlesbrough. Phil commented to the other two that was the quickest half mile they had ever walked, Usain Bolt had nothing on them!
They carried on through a very industrialised area of Middlesbrough ahead there were a couple of police cars and a police van with their lights flashing. As they got closer they noticed the police had surrounded a car. They were putting a young guy into the back of the van which then drove away followed by the 2 police cars. The final policeman got into the guy’s souped up Volkswagen and followed the other police vehicles up the road. After this it wasn’t long until the guys finally turned off the busy road and headed out into the sticks and away from the industrial area.
They came to a village called Billingham and decided to stop off at The Three Horseshoes pub. They bought a refreshing coke each and while Mark went outside to have a cigarette Paul and Phil took a seat inside. They got talking to a woman who worked at there. While she folded a pile of napkins they chatted to her about the walk and the charity. After they’d finished their drinks and had had a long enough break they set off again. They were soon going off road again and walked through Cowpen Bewley Woodland Park. They came across a field with some donkeys in it, Phil took a picture of one and posted it on social media saying it was Mark. As they carried on along the path they were passed by a man and a woman on a bike who said hello. After about 20 minutes of walking the same man and woman passed them again said hello. Paul commented that when they first passed, the woman was all tucked in but when she went by the second time she was a little more dishevelled, not that he was making any assumptions of what they’d been up to. Out on of the other side of the park they crossed the busy A689 and went down another lane, about a half mile down the lane however, Phil realised they had gone the wrong way. After consulting his phone to find the best way of getting back on the right track, he concluded that there were only two options. They could either go back the way they had come and add about a mile and a half to the day or to cut across some farmer’s fields and only add about half a mile to the day. Without much deliberation, Paul and Mark decided they should go across the farmers’ fields. After stumbling across a few fields they reached a housing estate, which was in the suburbs of Hartlepool. There was still a slight issue though before they were back on track; there was a babbling stream in the way. They walked up stream a little to try and find the best place they could to cross. Phil, being the tallest with the longest legs managed to get across unscathed, Mark, who had waterproof trainers on thought sod it and didn’t even attempt to jump and just got his foot slightly wet. Unfortunately, Paul forgot that his shoes were not waterproof, tried to copy Mark which resulted in one thoroughly drenched foot.
After what seemed like an age of walking through the backstreets of Hartlepool they finally came to a main road by Tesco’s. Paul wanted to find a shop so he could by Lily a present. After finding a shopping arcade they went in and after about 10 minutes of searching Paul rang Julia, his wife to ask her what to buy. She suggested it would be easier if she bought her something instead because she’d already seen something she knew Lily would love. Phil was a little annoyed with Paul as his legs were hurting from the pace they’d been walking at most of the day just so Paul could get to the shops. Phil thought while he was there, it would be nice if he bought his granddaughter a present. After a quick search in a toy store he bought something that had caught his eye. Following their shopping centre detour, they went and found the hotel and checked in before going up to their rooms. They had a short rest then they showered and changed before going down to the restaurant for dinner. Once they’d finished their food they had a couple of drinks and watched Portugal beat Poland, this meant Wales would play Portugal in the semi-finals. They then all retired to bed ready for their penultimate and longest day of the walk.
Via University Hospital of North Durham
Bag mover: Darren Dundas
Walkers: Alex, Mark, Paul, Phil, Stuart Champion, Lynn Powell, Michelle Abbott, Georgia Abbott, Jane Douthwaite, (last five mile) Tina Lowes, Christine Gott
Day 9, the penultimate day of Walk4Louis 7 had arrived and the three amigos got up and got ready in their own unique ways again. Once they had their bags ready they went down for breakfast but when they got there, they found out that breakfast was on the top floor in a rooftop restaurant. Once up there, they had wonderful panoramic views of Hartlepool to enjoy while they had breakfast. There were notices around the restaurant stating that they host weddings which Paul and Phil used as ammunition to take the mickey out of Mark. They said that it would be ideal for his wedding venue when he ties the knot with his partner, Paul was still waiting to be best man. After breakfast they fetched the bags from their rooms and went down. Once in reception they met with Stu, Lynn, Michelle and Georgia who had agreed to walk the leg with them. After chatting with them for a while Phil and Mark found out that Stu was a friend of Paul’s and Lynn, Michelle and Georgia were three generations of the same family who Paul had got speaking to on social media. The fifth companion for the day arrived; Jane, a midwife from Sunderland Royal Hospital. While they waited for their sixth and final walker for the day Mark nipped to the toilet. As he had already handed his key in, when he attempted to come back he found the door locked and had to ring Paul to let him back through. A taxi then pulled up outside, the group hoped it would be the final member of the party but it turned out to be the manager of the hotel, Carl. By the time they had taken a few photos and done their stretches it was quarter past 9 and there was still no sign of the final member. Paul left instruction with the receptionist to contact him when the walker arrived so they can arrange where they could meet the group. With that the group set off on their journey to Durham.
They went through Hartlepool and passed Victoria Park; home of Hartlepool Football Club with Phil leading the way. Phil was struggling a little bit with stiff legs after previous day’s excursions. He was not setting a very fast pace and it wasn’t long before he took some ibuprofen tablets to try and ease the discomfort he was starting to feel. As the group marched along they chatted and got to know one another. Lynn used to be a keen walker but had to have two lots of knee surgery, therefore she hadn’t been able to do as much. Georgia, Lynn’s granddaughter was a bit of a fitness fanatic, she was 15 and had been given special permission from her school to do the charity walk. She’d also done the junior Great North Run on a couple of occasions and kept her family busy with different sporting activities and clubs on most nights of the week. Michelle, Lynn’s daughter and Georgina’s mum used to be an accountant but gave that up to bring up her family. She then helped out at a local nursery part time but was now running the nursery. Because Jane works as a midwife at Sunderland Royal Hospital she’s had a lot to do with 4Louis. She jumped at the chance to do something to help raise money and awareness for them. She had foolishly agreed to do approximately 25 miles on day 9 and 8 miles the following day. Stuart was a mate of Paul’s who knew about the charity and wanted to help.
They carried on out of Hartlepool and were soon heading off the busy road and out into the sticks. They headed down a country lane and came to path that veered to the left. Phil consulted his map and said they need to take this turning down a bridle path. At the end of the bridle path they headed into a field of horses. Paul and Stuart weren’t keen horses and were a little nervous when one came up close to investigate what these people were doing in his field. They managed to get by the horses and through a gate into the next field just as it started to rain. They unpacked their coats and put them on. Phil checked to find out their exact location as he wasn’t exactly sure where they were. He had, however, realised that they had gone wrong somewhere. After consulting his phone, he could see where he had gone wrong. Rather than walking all the way back he found a quicker alternative that meant walking all the way around a couple of the farmer’s fields. Once they were back onto the road, everyone was a little wet, especially their feet. On the busy A19, it took them a little while to get everyone over, it was a bit reminiscent of the 80’s computer game Frogger. They reached their first break point marked on the map; a pub called the Plough Inn in the village of Hutton Henry. Yet again, when they had arrived they found a shut pub. Just up the road though there was a long bench which they would all fit on so they stopped and had a break.
After their break they were ready to set off, out of Hutton Henry and through Station Town and into Wingate. At Wingate they found an open pub called The Railway Crossing so stopped off for a toilet break. After everyone had used the toilet they carried on through Wingate and onto an industrial estate. They luckily came across a burger van where they stopped for some refreshments. As they walked along, Georgia put her I-pod in; she was beginning to tire of the “olds” conversations. They reached a farm at the end of the lane and walked through the farmer’s yard and up a track on the other side. One of the famer’s dogs followed behind them from the yard and along the track barking at them. Eventually the farmer came after it in his car, when he pulled over and opened the door the dog leapt in and was taken home. At the top of the track where it joined back up with the main road, there were some large fallen tree trunks so the group had a short break to catch their breath a little. While sitting there, Stu said he knew where he was and that if they followed this road it would take them all the way into Durham. Phil checked with him to make sure he definitely knew the way, then let him lead the way. He asked Stu about the next break point that he’d marked on his map; Three Horseshoes in a place called Running Water. Stu said that as far as he was aware, the pub was undergoing renovations so wouldn’t be open. A little disheartened, the group still agreed to have a break there even if the pub wasn’t open. So after a short break they set off down the A181 towards Durham.
As they walked along the A181, they used the path but when it ran out so they had to revert to walking single file on the road. The rain showers were starting to come a little more frequently but only in short bursts. Just as they’d managed to put their coats on. the rain had stopped! As the group strolled along it seemed that Mark and Stu were competing for lead position at the head of the walk. If one of them dropped behind to talk to one of the other walkers, as soon as they’d finished their conversation, they’d speed up to get back to the front of the pack, Paul and Phil found it quite amusing as they watched them battling for the lead. After a few more miles Lynn, Michelle and Georgia were starting to struggle a little but kept soldiering on. Eventually when they got to Running Water they were glad to see that the pub was actually open. They called in for a break and a refreshing drink. As Paul was being served, he got talking to the guy behind the bar and told him about their charity walk. The barman asked if there was anything he could do for them. Paul asked him if he would fill their bottles back up with water as they had run out of fluids. After making sure everyone’s bottles were full he had his photo taken with the group behind the pub. Realising they’d had a long enough, break they thanked the bar man for his help and set off towards Durham.
When they arrived in Durham, they stopped at a café for Lynn and Georgia to use the toilet. Mark went to a shop around the corner to buy some more cigarettes. As they carried on, through the suburbs of Durham, Paul got from his close friend and Walk4Louis ally, John Appleby. He wanted to know where they were so he could go and meet them, to give them a cheer, Paul told him and after about 5 minutes a van pulled up a little way ahead. John got out and started jumping, shouting and cheering like the complete loon that he is. While Mark, Paul and Phil chatted to John for a few minutes, Lynn, Michelle, Georgia, Jane and Stuart carried on. Once they had finished, the 3 amigos set off to catch the up with the others. After a couple of minutes, they noticed Stu, alone, on the other side of the road with the ladies nowhere to be seen. Phil spotted them on their own side of the road, not far ahead. Mark crossed the road to catch up with Stu. He couldn’t possibly allow Stu to be in the lead for too long. Phil and Paul kept to their side of the road and caught up to the ladies. Lynn, Michelle and Georgia said that they’d had enough, and that there was a convenient bus stop just around the corner that would get them back home. The guys thanked them for all their support and their company for the day, the 3 ladies went off to catch their bus. Jane, Paul and Phil crossed the road and caught up with Stu and Mark. The five remaining walkers carried on through Durham, towards the hospital. Another heavy shower came along so they took shelter under a beer garden parasol outside a pub to put their coats on again. As usual, no sooner had they got their coats on than the shower passed. As they got closer to the hospital there were a few steep hills to conquer, which started to take their toll on the walker’s legs and they all started to get tired. As they went around a roundabout there was an office building just off to the side, Stu pointed to the top floor where a group of women were waving a cheering with a sign that said ‘Go Stu’. Stu explained that it was where his partner worked and she wanted to cheer them on as they went by.
As they went back out into the suburbs of Durham they came across a place called Pity Me. Paul and Phil agreed this would be an opportune place to take a selfie with the sign in the background while pulling sad faces. As they went down a long stretch of road, Phil chalked up his thousandth mile. Unfortunately, he and the group were so tired there was no celebration or recognition. All they wanted to do was reach the hotel because the last 9 days of walking were starting to take their toll on their legs. The last five miles were probably the hardest they had faced on this year’s walk. Jane was also starting to feel the burn and was wondering how she was even going to get up, let alone complete the last day of the walk the following day. As they walked down the A167 the rain come down again but this time much heavier and longer lasting so out came the coats yet again. They arrived at the Church Mouse pub and decided to stop for a toilet break and to take shelter until the shower blew over. The rain began to ease off after about 5 minutes so they set off again. They finally saw the Welcome to Chester-Le-Street sign and were soon passing Durham Cricket Club and plodded on to the drive which would take them up to Lumley Castle. At the top of the drive was the impressive Lumley Castle The group had some photos taken outside. Stu and Jane’s lifts had arrived, they were both looking forward to getting home and having a long hot soak in the bath. The 3 guys thanked them for their company and told Jane they hoped to see her in the morning, not sure that they would and wished them both goodbye. They went into reception area and were greeted by reception staff dressed in period clothing, this was a truly splendid hotel. Tina checked them and offered to buy them all a drink to take back to their room. She took them for a walk through the magnificent grounds and the castle before they arrived at the bar. Once they had their drinks, Tina and Christine took them to their rooms and wished them luck for the next day and said good night.
In their rooms they were finally able to relax for a while. Paul and Phil soaked their feet in a cold bath before they settled down on their beds. They watched the first half of Wales vs Belgium. Once the first half had finished Phil was fairly happy as after going one nil down Wales came back to be drawing one all. They finished getting ready and got a taxi to Weatherspoon’s in Chester-Le-Street to get something to eat. After they’d finished eating they had another drink and watched the rest of second half of the match. Phil was a very happy camper when the full time whistle blew as Wales had won three-one and were, for the first time in the country’s history, through to the semi-final. Once they’d finished their drinks they went around the corner to a garage to buy some snacks for later. They then got another taxi to take them back to the hotel. The guys retired to their rooms to relax and rest their weary bones to make sure they’d be as fully refreshed as possible for their final day of Walk4Louis7. It wasn’t long before the sounds of snoring were filling both rooms.
Bag mover: Kirsty McGurrell
Walkers: Alex, Mark, Paul, Phil, Ailsa Richardson, Anne-Marie Giblin , Mark Mason , Fiona Dickson , Stephen Liddle, Frankie Liddle, Jack Waterworth, Joanne Waterworth, Bob McGurrell, Jane Douthwaite, John Appleby, Nathan Sherrington, Kieran Stewart, Rebecca Gillmore, Leanne Scott, Laura Forbes, Callum Hadlington, Jeff Campbell, Kieran Sherrington, Susan Campbell, Claire Campbell, Danny Hadlington, Julie Reay & Kath Stalley
Day 10 had finally arrived and the guys had just 8 more miles to cover before they could hang up their walking boots for another year. For the final time the guys went through their own little morning rituals then headed downstairs for breakfast. On their way down they couldn’t resist taking some photos of the hotel because it was so impressive. Just before the restaurant where breakfast was served there was a long corridor which Paul wanted to get a photo of. It wasn’t easy however as every time he tried to take a shot, people were either going in or coming out of the restaurant. After about the 10th attempt he finally got one he was happy with. They then went and had their last hearty breakfast before heading back to their rooms. While doing their final checks, Paul received a call from a photographer from the Sunderland Echo who’d come to take some photos. The Echo were doing a story on their walk. So the three of them went to the front of the hotel and met with the photographer. He found a suitable place to take some photos, guy put on their best catalogue poses. He took each of the lads’ names and told them a reporter would be down soon to write up their story. As they walked back with the photographer a lady came around the corner and the photographer told them that was the reporter. They thanked the him for coming and said goodbye before talking with the reporter and giving their story about the walk. She wrote down all her notes in what the guys thought looked like hieroglyphics but was, in fact, shorthand. She wished them all luck on their final day and told them the story would be in the paper over the next couple of days. Once the reporter gone the guys went back to their rooms to wait for the guest walkers to arrive. After a short while there was a knock at the guys’ door; it was Bob dropping off some angel wings for the guys to wear. They were going for a bit of a fancy dress theme for their last day. Once they had their wings on Mark handed each of them a halo to wear as well. All winged and haloed up, they took their bags down to reception then went outside to meet the guest walkers as they arrived and had photos taken with them. The guys were happily surprised to see Jane there waiting for them despite the previous day’s arduous walk. Disappointedly only one person, Ailsa Richardson, came in fancy dress, she’d come in a very impressive Mr Potato Head costume. After they’d stretched out, the guys thanked everyone for coming and the group set off from the grounds of the castle and headed out onto the road towards Sunderland.
After only a short distance, it became apparent that there were a wide range of walking speeds and abilities as the line of walkers stretched out along the road. At the front, the walkers were being led by Ailsa aka Mr Potato Head and towards the back was Nathan Sherrington, pushing his daughter in a buggy. As they walked along, Nathan was talking with John Appleby and Phil about football. As they went into Woodstone Village, Nathan mentioned there was a shortcut up ahead that would save them some time. They were quite strung out along the road but Paul managed to get word to the front for people to stop so the group could get back together. Unfortunately, by the time the message reached the front, the trail blazers had gone past Nathan’s shortcut. He was a little way behind so he said he would take the shortcut and wait for the group further down the road. The group all came together at the end of the road and headed towards Bournmoor. The Campbell family dropped to the back and kept looking worriedly behind them, wondering where Nathan was. They hadn’t realised he had taken the shortcut and it was only when he appeared at the front, that they realised what he’d done.
When the group got to Sunderland, some of the walkers were starting to struggle and to make matters worse they kept being hit by heavy showers. Soon though they saw signs for Sunderland Hospital and they knew the end was nigh. In the hospital grounds, Mark, Paul, Phil and Lily let everyone go ahead as they brought up the rear to cross the finish line together. People were cheering as they crossed the finish line. Another adventure had come to an end. They headed up to the maternity ward where the midwives had laid on refreshments for the walkers. Paul and Mark looked around but their partners were nowhere to be seen. When they rang them, they found out they’d gone to the wrong part of the hospital and were waiting in completely the wrong place. They went off to find them and take them to where the rest of the group were. As everyone enjoyed the refreshments, Bob and Tracey gave out medals to all the walkers, Mark gave out the award for best fancy dress costume to Mrs Potato Head (Ailsa Richardson). Bob, Tracey and Jackie Dyson, a midwife from the ward, said a few words. Mark thanked everyone on behalf of Walk4Louis for coming and supporting them. After the refreshments some of the walkers needed to leave so the guys thanked again for coming. The remaining walkers headed off to a pub around the corner called Chester’s for a couple of drinks to celebrate. After a couple of drinks Paul & his wife, Mark & his partner, Phil and Jane headed to their hotel to rest up before the party which 4Louis were laying on that evening. Phil, Jane, Paul and Lily went in Julia’s car while Mark and Shelia followed in their own car. Paul set up the sat-nav with the hotel postcode and off they went. After following the directions, Julia pulled into a housing estate and came to a dead end with the sat-nav saying they had reached their destination. When she checked, it become apparent that Paul had put in the wrong postcode. With the right postcode sourced and entered they were soon pulling up at the hotel. Once checked in, they all went to their rooms to relax. After freshening up and getting changed, they all met in the bar for a drink, before heading to the Copt Hill pub for the 4Louis charity evening.
The evening was full of good times and laughter with the drinks flowing and music playing. Bob and Tracey did a presentation segment and give the 3 guys a trophy each for their achievements. John Appleby presented Paul and Phil with a special cake for surpassing a 1000 miles. After the presentation a buffet opened and people were able to get some food. Paul and Phil got the cake cut up for everyone to have a piece. The party went into full swing, with karaoke being brought into play. A special mention to John Appleby, who got up to do a few turns, it was like he had been possessed by the spirit of Elvis Presley. As the night drew to a close the group went back to the hotel to finally but Alex and Walk4Louis ‘M’ 2016 to bed for one final time.
The Walk4Louis team would like to thank the following people who helped make Walk4Louis’M’ possible. Without you and your support we would not have been able to complete this feat.
Sarah Gerrard - Waterfront Lodge Hotel, Huddersfield
Gary Peacock - Midland Hotel, Bradford
Cindy Humphreys - Cosmopolitan Hotel, Leeds
Valarie Buksh - Mecure Wetherby
Karen Davidson - Cathedral Mews, Ripon
Sammy Vernalls - Black Bull, Northallerton
Paula Mann - Boot & Shoe, Darlington
Louise Franks & Vikki Jackson - Jury’s Inn, Middlesbrough
Victoria Hamilton - Hillcarter Hotel, Hartlepool
Tina Lowes - Lumley Castle, Chester-Le-Street
Hospitals / Hospices
Emma Bleasdale - Forget-Me-Not Hospice, Huddersfield
Julie Key & Julie Walker - Bradford Royal Hospital
Jan Speak & Dani Lewis - St Luke’s Hospital, Bradford
Alison Bowes - Leeds General Infirmary & St James Hospital, Leeds
Mark Clayton – Martin House Hospice
Christine Dowson – Darlington Memorial Hospital
Tina McGuchan – James Cook University Hospital, Middlesbrough
Rachel Willmore - Zoe’s Place Baby Hospice, Middlesbrough
Christine Dowson – University Hospital of North Durham
Jackie Dyson - Sunderland Royal Hospital
All the midwives and staff that came to meet us at all the hospices and hospitals we visited on route
Becky McGarva Aimee Hall Gemma Oakley Hannah Oakley
Stuart Champion Lynn Powell Michelle Abbott Georgia Abbott
Jane Douthwaite Tina Lowes Christine Gott Ailsa Richardson
Anne-Marie Giblin Mark Mason Fiona Dickson Stephen Liddle
Frankie Liddle Jack Waterworth Joanne Waterworth Bob McGurrell
Jane Douthwaite John Appleby Nathan Sherrington Kieran Stewart
Rebecca gillmore Leanne Scott Laura Forbes Callum Hadlington
Jeff Campbell Kieran Sherrington Susan Campbell Claire Campbell
Danny Hadlington Julie Reay Kath Stalley Lily Taft
Tim Brownstone - Kymira
Helen Durant - Hi-Tec
Phil Jones - T-Shirts
Cloud 9 Leisure - T-Shirt Printing
To every single sponsor who donated, your heartfelt gesture makes all the difference to us and the 4Louis charity. With your help and support this year we have managed to raise a fantastic £4065.00, taking our total amount raised, since 2010 to over £32,000 so thank you again.
If you would like to stay in touch with us you can, on our social media pages. If you would like to see all our photos from this year’s walk they are on Facebook (Walk ForLouis) and if you would like to keep up to date with the developments for next year’s walk they will be revealed on Twitter (Walk4Louis) & Facebook later in the year.
So until next year this is Walk4Louis signing off………………………….