I couldn't believe the number of people that turned out to get the walk under way at The Skegness Masonic Centre. Completely overwhelming and to be honest, very emotional. My family, including my 3 grandchildren, ex members of The Royal Engineers and many Freemasons from all over Lincolnshire, some had driven over 2 hours to be there, on New Years Day... nearly 100 people I'm told. I thank you all for making the effort and also I thank the Freemasons from Skegness and their wives for laying on and serving hot drinks and all that cake !!!
A few speeches, a recorded link from the Chairman of The Masonic Charitable Foundation and more donations to asssist me on route, all gratefully received and at Midday, a large group left the centre on foot heading for the sea.
More people met us when we got to the famous Skegness Clocktower, I was even given an ice cream, we got to the sea, turned left and the walk officially started.
As we made our way up the coast the group slowly got smaller and smaller as people departed for home until the last man standing, accompanied by his son and daughter, The Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master for Lincolnshire,
David Wheeler who walked with me for a further mile or so. It was incredible that the boss sayed with me for so long but I was soo grateful when he eventually left me as I was hanging !!! The lingering lurgy which I can't shake off, was and still is seriously effecting my breathing and I was dying for a sit down !!! That isn't to say I wasn't grateful that the boss had given up his entire Sunday to support me and he was the last one to leave me.... Thank you David.
I was at last, on my own.... Well, for 5 minutes anyway. The very first pub I tried to walk past, a Brother from Lumley Lodge, who is also a member of my Mother Lodge, dragged me from the path into the pub and forced me to drink a couple of pints.... I won't embarrass him my mentioning his name....
I eventually got to Chapel St Leonard's, it was dark and it had started raining so I found myself a nice quiet spot, set up the tent and bedded down for the night. I needed that bed more than you will know. I had only walked just over 8 miles but I was drained, physically and emotionally.
The adventure was under way...