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NOV'89 etc.

November 1st 1989, Wednesday
Miles run today 27.5
Total miles run 3869.7
From Saxmundham to A137 near Tattingstone
Map of run

Brenda and Eric Browne are really nice people and both were very interesting to talk too. Brenda did some washing for me and made us sandwiches to take with us.

We drove back to Saxmundham to start today's run. It was a very cold morning and I was finding it hard going running along the A12. I felt tired too so I really had to push myself to keep going. We turned off the A12 and headed into Woodbridge via the B1438. We had a meeting with Lady Hutchinson who donated £25 and gave us a glass of sherry. I thoroughly enjoyed the drink but I knocked it back too quickly and it went straight to my head. We spoke about all manner of things, and Lady Hutchinson said how impressed she was with my run and thought we had both done splendidly well. Ted enjoyed himself too and we were both reluctant to leave.

The second part of the run took us back on the A12, then the A45 (now the A14) and finally finishing on the A137 near Tattingstone. I don't remember too much about the second run. It probably had something to do with the sherry.


November 2nd 1989, Thursday
Miles run today 27.6
Total miles run 3897.3
From A137 near Tattingstone to Little Clacton
Map of run

Due to another mix up with arrangements, I had to phone the Imperial Cancer Research charity shop in Ipswich to let them know we would not be arriving at the shop as previously arranged as we now had to be in Harwich to meet a reporter from the local paper.

I am getting phone calls from more than one person at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund and arrangements are being made that have us in two places at once. I am getting a bit miffed to say the least. Ted has been great the last few days and really supportive. He told me not to let things get me down and that we are doing our very best. I really appreciated his words. I have been getting really tensed up and have had a constant headache for two days as well as feeling sick. I am also concerned about the remaining route in to London. The traffic is causing us problems and we have had to make a few changes to the route as some roads are just too dangerous to run on. If I am being honest with myself, I just want to concentrate on the running and nothing else. Meeting reporters from local newspapers have not produced any money for cancer research and neither has meeting Mayors. Therefore, there is no point to it.

The run today followed the A137 near Tattingstone to Manningtree and onto the B1352 to Harwich. After lunch and our meeting with the reporter Helen Williams from the Harwich newspaper, I continued running along the B1414 to Little Clacton.


November 3rd 1989, Friday
Miles run today 27.6
Total miles run 3924.9
From Little Clacton to the B1026 near Abberton Reservoir
Map of run

It was a nice day for a run, but I was so stiff it took me a long time to get going. From Little Clacton I followed the B1027 and turned off toward Wivenhoe as we hoped there was a bridge across the River Colne. Unfortunately there wasn't one so we had to double back and follow the road into Colchester. We then made a number of wrong turns, which added on extra mileage. After lunch we eventually figured out the route and then followed the B1026 crossing over the Abberton Reservoir and marking up soon after.

We saw a sign to London today and Ted and I got really excited. We took photos of each other.

We had free accommodation at the Marks Tey Hotel in Colchester so we headed straight there. The manager of the hotel gave us a £20 cheque from the Rotary Club. He told us that usually they never give money to individuals, but because of the magnitude of my task and the run is in aid of cancer research, they have bent the rules on this occasion. Terrific!

Another piece of good news is that the school my father works at, have raised over £600 for the Imperial Cancer Research Fund. The head teacher has asked that I go along to the school after the run is over to meet the school children and staff. I shall look forward to that.

It is Jeremy Brett's birthday today. My thoughts are with him.


November 4th 1989, Saturday
Miles run today 27.1
Total miles run 3952
From the B1026 near Abberton Reservoir to Hullbridge
Map of run

I felt terrible on the morning run along the B1026, sick, tired and no energy. How I kept going I will never know. I followed the road to Heybridge and Maldon and then headed along the B1018 to Latchingdon where we stopped for lunch. On the second run I took the B1012 towards South Woodham Ferrers. I felt better than I did on the first run and took encouragement from three children aged about ten clapping and cheering me on. They also gave me fifty pence each. The run continued on the A132 turning off to Battlesbridge and finished near Hullbridge. After I marked up I got in the van and Ted drove us to Chelmsford to meet the local press.

November 5th 1989, Sunday
Miles run today 29.2
Total miles run 3981.2
From Hullbridge to A13 North Stifford
Map of run

It was a sunny day but very cold as we set off. We hadn't been going long when we were given a donation. A lot more followed as many people had seen us on television. Also we had a lot of people in their cars beeping and waving at us, which is really great as it gives me the motivation to keep going. After seeing me pass by, a lady ran out of her house and gave me £5. She also gave me a kiss and said it is a wonderful thing that you are doing. A man with tears in his eyes gave us £20. He had recently lost a loved one to cancer. It is moments like that that are a reminder of what Ted and I are achieving. We are helping people in some way and that makes it all worthwhile.

The route today took us from Hullbridge to Rayleigh into Southend-on-Sea along the A1015 and then out along the A13 to North Stifford.

Tomorrow will be my final full day of running. I shall finish at Tower Bridge and have a rest on Tuesday before the finish at the Cutty Sark in Greenwich on Wednesday. After the run is over, it will be a time for reflection.

November 6th 1989, Monday
Miles run today 19.5
Total miles run 4000.7
From the A13 North Stifford to Tower Bridge
Map of run

I followed the A13 into London and because of the heavy traffic I ran on the pavement as often as I could. The sight of the London buses and the busy streets brought the realisation that the run was nearly at an end. I had mixed feelings as I ran the last couple of miles. I felt pleased that I would no longer have the constant pain from running day in and day out. But I will miss the wonderful people I met along the way. It has made me realise there isn't a lot wrong with the world and the people in it. There are unfortunately a minority who are bored with their lives who wish to do harm. I wish they would wise up and use their energy to do good things.

I know a lot of people will say that it is remarkable what I have achieved and running 4000 miles is brilliant. But that is not what the run was about. It was to bring to people's attention that there is a desperate need to bring cancer to a nearer and final end. This disease is so destructive in every way. It is a disease that has to be beaten and by donating money to cancer research it will help bring the disease to a nearer end. I have taken myself to the limit for this cause and I want the researchers to do the same. This disease has gone on far too long and it is time for the pain and suffering to stop.


November 7th 1989 Tuesday
No running

We have been given 3 nights free accommodation at the London Tara Hotel and a wonderful hotel it is to.

Ted and I met up with Jane Arnell and Sue Kiddy from the Imperial Cancer Research Fund to go over the final arrangements for tomorrow. BBC Newsroom South East and Thames Television News will be filming the run and some of the national press will be present. There will also be an evening celebration at the Head Office of the Imperial Cancer Research Fund at Lincoln's Inns Fields.

November 8th 1989, Wednesday
Miles run today 4
Total miles run 4004.7
From Tower Bridge to the Cutty Sark, Greenwich
Map of run

We arrived at the Tower Hotel to meet everyone. Members from the Imperial Cancer Research Fund were gathered in force. Hugh Jones, Mark Rowland and men and women from the Greenwich Royal Naval College would be running with me.

We started the run from Tower Bridge. In front of us were the film crews from BBC Newsroom South East and Thames Television News. They had joined forces and used the same vehicle to film us from. In front of that vehicle were two policemen on motorcycles to guide us through the traffic. As we crossed the bridge and headed east to Greenwich it was raining, but I had a feeling the sun would come out by the time we finished. It was a run of only a few miles and it was very enjoyable running with other people. As we got near to Greenwich the sun shone through the murky clouds and the rain stopped as we turned towards the Cutty Sark. As we reached the cobbles, I turned and signalled to Ted to pullover. He looked a bit perplexed for a moment, but then I told him to get out of the backup van as I wanted us to cross the finishing line together. This we did and everyone cheered and clapped. It was a great end to a long and eventful journey. My parents and family were first to greet me and I gave them a huge hug. The Minister for Sport, Colin Moynihan was on hand to meet us and he congratulated us. The interviews then began in earnest. First up was Stephen Gardner from BBC Newsroom South East. It was wonderful to meet him again and to talk to him because he always put me at ease. We were then interviewed for Thames Television News followed by the newspaper photographers who took numerous pictures of Colin Moynihan, Ted and me near the Cutty Sark. We then went inside the ship and met the Captain who had been collecting money for the run. He presented us with a cheque for £1625.36, which is a fantastic effort.

The speeches and the thanks went on for quite some time and yet everything seemed to fly by. Ted and I were then whisked off to our hotel to get washed and changed for a live interview on BBC Newsroom South East at Elstree Studios. Guy Michelmore interviewed us and Ted spoke really well.

In the evening we went to Lincoln's Inn's Fields at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund Head Office for a celebration. My family and friends had been there for quite a time before Ted and I arrived and you could tell that one or two had taken full advantage of the free drinks on offer. Major General Alastair Dennis made me an honouree member of the charity. It was a nice gesture but not what I really wanted. I was more interested to know how much had been donated. I was told that so far the total was £30,000. Most of the donations in the last weeks had come from viewers of BBC Newsroom South East and some had come from Daily Mail readers. Half of the money had been collected during the run. We still hoped for more donations after today's broadcasts.


Video report shown on BBC Newsroom South East.

Video report shown on Thames News.

November 9th 1989, Thursday

Only two national newspapers printed news of the finish of the 'Keep Hope Alive' Run, The Guardian and The Times, which had a nice picture of Colin Moynihan and me with a short report. Today I spoke to three local newspapers and hope they will provide a bigger story that will help raise more money for cancer research.

My parents and sister have arranged a welcome home run from Ealing to my home town of Hanwell on Saturday. They have worked really hard on this and it is something both Ted and I are looking forward too. We are therefore staying at the Carnarvon Hotel (now the Ramada London Ealing Hotel) in Ealing for two nights free of charge. Ted's wife Betty has joined us and it is lovely to see her again. I thanked her for the loan of her husband for the last several months and she in turn thanked me for giving her a break from him!

In the evening, sitting alone in my room, I reflected on the run. Physically it was extremely hard. A day never passed without some sort of niggle or pain. But the tiredness was almost impossible to bear. Each morning, before I started running, I could quite easily have gone back to bed and slept for a week. I didn't lack motivation though because I knew that every step I took put me nearer home and I was doing it for a very good cause. I did have to be single minded, determined and stubborn to see it through to the bitter end however. If I had done the run for myself it would have been physically easier because I wouldn't have had to spend hours fundraising. But it would have been harder mentally to achieve because I wouldn't have had members of the public cheering me on and willing me to keep going to raise money for cancer research.

Ted, bless his heart, was a pain in the backside in the early months, but was a real trooper in the later stages. It certainly wasn't an easy job for him sitting in a van for around five hours a day and then fundraising. I will always be grateful for his help and the other backup drivers who gave up their time to be with me.

The people at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund didn't always know how best to help me. It wasn't something they encountered before and I think this is why they didn't know how to respond on some occasions. Jane Arnell from the London office did help as did Pete Vincent from the Devon and Somerset area. But having different regions of the charity proved to be unhelpful. Area managers got the ump because the money the run raised went to the office in London. As far as I was concerned it didn't matter which area got the money because it went in the same pot so to speak. There was probably one other reason for the lack of support at times and I think it had something to do with the injury I got early on. It made people doubt that I would finish the run and I can't really blame them for that because they didn't know me well enough to realise that I would never give up.

Before I started the run, I never thought it would have the same impact as the Terry Fox run across Canada, but I did think at least one national newspaper would pick up on the story. If more people had known about the run they would have responded. Look at the way they are responding now to the news reports on BBC Newsroom South East. Can you imagine if a report had gone nationwide? A million pounds would have been possible.

My parents Joan and Robert, my sister Helen and other family members all tried their hardest to drum up media support. But having their morale boosting support and love made a huge difference.

November 10th 1989, Friday

I went shopping with Ted's wife Betty and after walking around for a couple of hours, I got really tired. After running each day for several months, I'm just not used to walking. Later Ted, Betty and I went for a meal at the Granville (Harvester) in Ealing. We had a lovely meal and we were finishing off with a coffee when the manager appeared and told us that he had received a phone call saying an IRA fire bomb has been left somewhere on the premises. He immediately evacuated the place and we stood with other customers at a safe distance. I said to Ted that we went all around Northern Ireland and had only one serious bomb threat and then we come back home and we have a bomb scare on our own doorstep. Because of the inconvenience the manager gave us the meal free, which was kind of him.

Jane Arnell of the Imperial Cancer Research Fund had given me a scrap book yesterday that contained numerous letters from people who had sent in donations after seeing us on television. As we read it Ted and I got really emotional. A lot of people had written about their own ordeal with cancer and others had written about their relatives that suffered from the disease. At the end of each letter were words of thanks for our efforts, which made us realise that we had done something to help a lot of people. I will always be disappointed that we didn't raise more money, but it is better to help some people than none at all.

November 11th 1989, Saturday
Miles run 2
From Ealing Common to Hanwell
Map of run

My sister Helen came to the hotel where we had stayed at 11 a.m. and decorated the backup van with streamers and balloons. We then set off from Ealing Common at midday with Helen running with me. Our first stop was the Imperial Cancer Research charity shop in Ealing Broadway where we were met by the volunteers who worked in the shop for free. For a short time we did some fundraising and then a lady approached me and asked if I were the one who had been running around the UK. When I said I was, she put £15 into the collection bucket. Fantastic!

Our journey then continued to the Town Hall where we were met by the MP for Ealing, Harry Greenway and also Thames Television News and the local press. Harry Greenway made a really good speech and then we had photos taken on the steps of the Town Hall. We then set off for Hanwell and my home. The Uxbridge Road was lined with friends from Ealing Magistrates Court, Dunhill's and onlookers. People in cars were beeping us and giving us the thumbs up. In West Ealing there were banners and more people waving and cheering us on. On the final bit of the run we turned right into Church Road and then right into Netheravon Road where I lived. A huge surprise greeted us. The neighbours had decked out the whole road in flags. MP Harry Greenway had made his way ahead of us and was waiting to greet us as was all the neighbours. It is only a small road of twenty four houses but everyone had made the effort to cheer us home. I was given a huge bunch of flowers and Ted was given numerous pats on the back. MP Harry Greenway did another speech and said the whole of Hanwell is proud of me. I did a speech about the run, fundraising and how we had been inspired by the people we met and those that had suffered cancer. By the time I finished there were a few tearful people. Afterwards, there was a party at home and everyone was invited. It was a fantastic day.

MP Harry Greenway said he would arrange the cheque presentation for the money the 'Keep Hope Alive' run had raised at the Houses of Parliament.


November 15th 1989, Wednesday

I went to a school in Chalfont St Giles where my father works as a workshop technician to talk about my run and to receive a cheque for £600. It is an amazing effort and so much appreciated. I really enjoyed talking to the children and hopefully I inspired them to achieve their dreams and wishes.

December 7th 1989, Thursday

Today I received the Adidas/Running Magazine Runner of the Year Award. I felt honoured to receive the award and more so as the two people who came second, Lloyd Scott and Angela Symes who came third, were both worthy winners. The award was given to me by John Regis and Jack Buckner. It was really nice to meet Tom Knight again who first told me I had won the award in King's Lynn during the run. I had hoped to meet up with Elizabeth Lancaster who had nominated me and to thank her, but she was on holiday. Later we met runner Kriss Akabusi who was full of fun. Ted's wife Betty was charmed by him as were we all and my father enjoyed his company too.


February 27th 1990, Tuesday

The cheques presentation at the Houses of Parliament was a wonderful event. Conservative MP Harry Greenway had arranged a tea for us and he was an excellent host. Speeches were made and the final cheque that amounted to £40,611.11p was handed over to the Imperial Cancer Research Fund. MP Harry Greenway had asked the Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher to attend but she had another engagement. A letter of apology was given to me, which I appreciated. In a way it was probably a good thing the Prime Minister never turned up as my father, a strong union man and a Labour Party voter, may have decided to talk politics and the event would have been overshadowed by his views. My father did have us all in stitches with laughter when he said to Conservative MP Harry Greenway, 'I hear you are joining the Labour Party'. The room went quiet at that moment and the expression on MP Harry Greenway's face was a picture until he realised my father was stringing him along. It was taken in good fun and it bought laughter to the occasion.

Actor Edward Hardwicke, who has played Dr. Watson alongside Jeremy Brett's Sherlock Holmes came and gave his support. It was really nice to meet him again as he is a lovely man. Jeremy explained on the phone he couldn't make it due to work commitments and asked if I will meet him for lunch shortly, which of course I will.

My sincere thanks to MP Harry Greenway for arranging the event at the Houses of Parliament and for his support for the run through Ealing. It was a pleasure and privilege to have met him.



Video of the cheque presentation shown on Thames Television News.


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