What a memorable weekend for so many reasons! On Friday morning some of the DCLT lifeguards came and swam with me, along with a three members of the public who made kind donations to the Hearing Fund UK. Let me tell you , these girls are fast!! 🙂 I completed another 100 lengths so I was pleased with that, considering I had planned a weekend off from being in the water. Thank you so much for your support everyone. You were amazing.
Friday afternoon meant it was time to travel ‘home’ to Chester-le-Street with Paul. We had been invited by the Swimming Club who were having a fundraising weekend, and it was extremely well organised. On Friday night they had their water based activities which included a Channel swim.
There were six teams competing against each other to complete their part of the 22 miles from Calais to Dover, and there was a wonderful atmosphere as the older swimmers worked with the younger team members in a relay. I was invited to begin the race by blowing the starter’s whistle, and it was good to be part of it, even in a small way. We had the pleasure of chatting to Terry, Gary, Lorraine and Lianne who do a fantastic job, along with many others, running an extremely successful Club. I was also really impressed by the support shown by the parents, and it took me back to the days when my Dad would take me to my training sessions 6 days a week, encouraging me from the viewing area with a stop watch in his hand.
After the swim had ended, as we walked back to the car, I realised the bells were ringing from St Cuthbert’s church. It reminded me of when my sister was married there and we headed in the direction of the Church. Unfortunately within a minute or so the bells stopped ringing, but I wanted to go and see the iconic landmark anyway. Just as we turned the corner, it was obvious that the bell ringers were leaving from their practise. Not wanting to miss an opportunity, I walked quickly towards them as they were walking away, and was able to explain how much it had meant to me to hear the bells ringing and how grateful I had been to hear them for a few minutes . We got chatting to Ian Wintrip, who was such an interesting fellow. He spoke with passion about his life and connections with the bell ringing group. He has invited us to return some day when they have a practise so we can see inside the belfry! He then kindly handed me a £5 note because he was interested in supporting my Challenge. What a gentleman! We felt it an honour to have had him stop to talk to us and we look forward to contacting him again when we do return in the future. Thank you Ian!
That evening we headed up to my sister’s home in Northumberland. What I could not get over was how light it still was at 10:35pm. This photo quality isn’t great because it was taken whilst the car was moving, but it was so beautiful. This was going to be my chance to rest and I was so looking forward to it. I slept 9 hours that night…. I was obviously in need of it 🙂
After a restful day with family and friends, and a long awaited visit to Newcastle city yesterday, today was a new day where we headed back to Chester le Street for the second part of the fundraising events. I was sad to miss Church today because I found out this morning that my son in law Daniel has been called as the Bishop to our Doncaster Ward church today. I am so so proud of him and the amazing person he is. (For those of you who might wonder what a Mormon Bishop does, this link explains it really simply : http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/bishop )
Once back in ‘Chester’, we had lunch at the Lambton Arms. Afterwards, as we stood up to leave, a lady at the opposite table jumped up and said ‘Is it Linda?’ Quite surprised, I said yes. Then she asked ‘Linda Ruddick?’ By this time I was floored haha …. it turns out she and I had been in college together 40 years earlier and she had recognised me from a Facebook picture!!! It was so nice to see her again after all these years! She knew about my swimming challenge and wanted to wish me luck! How amazing is that?! (I really shouldn’t be surprised by all these incredible things that are happening with this Challenge any more …. I am just in awe of all these so called ‘coincidences’.) Wonderful.
This afternoon took us to the land based activities where the Swimming Club met for the second part of their weekend of fun. This time the theme was the Olympics. Not only can these kids swim, but there are some mighty fine gymnasts amongst them too! I had been invited to present the awards towards the end of the event, which was lovely to do. The pictures aren’t great as the lighting wasn’t good, but you get the gist.
All in all, a most memorable weekend. Thank you to everyone at Chester le Street Swimming Club for making us feel so welcome and inviting us to join in your event. The Hearing Fund UK will benefit from one third of the money raised, and I will share the amount once it has all been collected. Thank you so much for all you have done to make such a difference.
PS. I have to say this, but I have observed something very interesting this weekend …. I have not met one single miserable person whilst we were up there!!! From the kids in the pool, and their parents and club leaders, to the people of Chester-le-Street and in Newcastle (especially the staff in John Lewis on Northumberland Street!). We have loved every minute of it! Thank you!