February 9th, 2019 Reaching Out

It’s been a long time since I last wrote in this Blog. We – Robbie and I – decided to keep the website alive, at least until we heard from Guinness World Records on the result of our application. They contacted Rob to upload the gpx files and routes taken again but there was no explanation why. Many people keep asking “have you heard from GWR?” but we can only wait; and hope they haven’t forgotten us! My standard reply is “they haven’t said No, yet”.

But this missile is about a very lovely message we received recently – so the website is still performing the function we had hoped it would and reaching out to people. This message was from a very enterprising Primary School teacher in Leicestershire. As a means of bringing interest and immediacy to her geography teaching on the subject of the UK, she used Lands End to John o Groats . Would I mind if the students in her class wrote to me to ask questions about my “Challenge”. What a super idea! I was so pleased to say “Yes, of course”. And so 20 very neat, and very thoughtful, handwritten letters arrived on special notepaper. I never dreamt we would be reaching out to youngsters, as well as oldsters! Well, each letter had to be answered individually, of course. They were all individuals, who had thought about what to ask and how to compose the letters.

So . . . . . . I sat down with a big notepaper pad, 20 envelopes, a large cup of coffee and did the job. One thing I kept re-iterating was how interesting it is to receive a handwritten letter in the age of texts and emails. The questions were about were I slept and what I ate and did I train hard. Another theme was what I missed while I was away. The students would have missed their friends, their rooms, their dog and, I should have known, their family. I used those remarks to suggest a challenge for them to have a go at. Maybe a short ride around Swannington, where the school is. Or maybe train for a Coast to Coast with friends or family. Maybe climb the highest peak in Leicestershire?

Mrs Carr, the teacher, made a big display with the letters and my replies and a photo of me being silly at John o Groats. I hope we can put the photograph Mrs Carr sent on this web site.

Who could have predicted such an outcome? It’s just so lovely. It has made my last few days very pleasant indeed. We have a germ of an idea for me to take my bike to Swannington and we can all go out for ride. Maybe too difficult to find a suitable moment and a mutually convenient date. I do hope we can pull it off.

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