Unearthing a gift at the New Vic Theatre

Posted on July 29th, 2015 by

Unearthing a gift at the New Vic Theatre by David Conlon

In celebration of the Hoard, the New Vic Theatre has launched the Hoard Festival in an attempt to raise awareness and bring to light all that we know of the impressive discovery. In eagerness I booked to see the double-bill performance.

The first of these plays was “Unearthed” by Theresa Heskins of “Around the World in Eighty Days” and “The Borrowers” fame. I was intrigued by this traditional documentary drama that was both curious and unconventional in its delivery.

The play was built upon the actual words of the archaeologists, historians, conservators and experts involved in the unearthing of the Hoard, delivered brilliantly by the actors. I was particularly fascinated to hear from the person who discovered the hoard itself, a very likable man indeed.

The play also explored possible theories and meanings of the hoard, some derived from expert Michael Wood “the hoard may have been an offering to the gods, or the spoils of battle, for example”. Combined with impressive special effects, the play proved to be a tremendously enjoyable and a fascinating experience, steeped in myth and history.Image by Andrew Billington.

The second play of the evening was called “The Gift” by Jemma Kennedy. An epic tale of romance and adventure, set in the ancient kingdom of Mercia (in today’s Staffordshire) the story explored one possible theory of how the hoard came to be buried.

The story follows the fate of one Anglo-Saxon clan. When the warriors return home victorious from battle, they bring with them gold stripped from the weapons of their defeated enemies. This is a gift from the King, who has ordered the clans to build Lichfield Cathedral for the new Christian faith. The women however are greatly opposed to this idea, and are determined to hold onto the world and gods that they know. Yet when the argument turns murderous, each must choose their own fate, risking all that they have for freedom and love. And bound up in all this is the fate of the gold – the hoard.

From the humour, tension, excitement, cunning, sadness to the set of the small wooden hut in the forest, the play proved to be absolutely excellent, a glorious tribute to the magnificent Staffordshire Hoard. It was an amazing story, very cleverly written, with a good mix of laughter and tension.

My favourite scene was where a Welsh slave girl sat by the fire at night and sang a song of yore in her native tongue. The melody and the ancient language gave me goose-bumps.

It all made me yearn to sit too by the fire and sing along with all and sundry long into the night.

Peter Odemwingie: How I self-educated myself back from my ACL injury

Posted on July 26th, 2015 by

Peter Odemwingie: How I self-educated myself back from my ACL injury

odemwingie 1

The electronic gates open at Stoke City’s superb Clayton Wood training complex, just over a mile as the crow flies from their Britannia Stadium home. I park my rather embarrassing family hatchback amongst the vehicular glitterati that belong to The Potter’s first team squad.

Parked cars, then…..

Enough has been talked and written about Peter Odemwingie and that transfer deadline day/night back in 2013. Indeed, as I’m met by Colin Burgess, the extremely affable head of Media at Stoke City, and led up to his office, it’s the present and the future I want to talk to Odemwingie about, not so much the well-documented past.

And specifically I want to discuss the injury he suffered almost twelve months ago, and the lengths he went to get himself back in the famous red and white stripes.
Peter Odemwingie has had a pretty eclectic life both within and outside football. It’s obvious that he loves talking, loves football, and has a real love of life. Born in Uzbekhistan in the Soviet Union, he spent a large part of his childhood living in the USSR and Nigeria.

It soon becomes apparent that it’s hard not to enjoy yourself in Peter Odemwingie’s company. Rarely is a sentence not accompanied by a smile, a laugh, or a pun: whether he’s talking about his career, his current club, or even about making his own Adidas three-stripe kits himself as a youngster growing up in the Soviet Union.
Possibly underrated as a player by some, Odemwingie has played in World Cups, The Olympics, The Champions League, The African Cup of Nations, and five different leagues: The footballing Judith Chalmers of The Six Towns. Indeed, he fulfilled one of his biggest personal dreams in the Summer of 2014 by scoring in the World Cup Finals – and it was past his good friend, and ex-Potters’ goalkeeper Asmir Begovic, too.

“I have always wanted to score a goal in the World Cup”, Odemwingie beams, “and by doing so that means I have scored in every big competition I’ve played in. I really wanted it badly. Scoring past Asmir wasn’t my target, but scoring at a World Cup was”.

Those who know Odemwingie talk about a softly-spoken, well-mannered, family man, and he admits that he even apologised to Begovic for scoring past him afterwards. Although on their return to the dressing room for pre-season last Summer, Odemwingie brought into the changing room the boots that he had scored in and asked the giant goalkeeper if they looked familiar!

Odemwingie arrived at Stoke City, his seventh club, from Cardiff City in January 2014. Whilst Mark Hughes has transformed The Potters into an attacking, attractive, top-half-of-the-table side, when Odemwingie arrived at The Britannia Stadium (in a swap deal that saw Kenwyne Jones head in the opposite direction), The Potters were facing a potential relegation battle.

Ask anyone in ST4, and they will put a lot of credit for Stoke’s eventual ninth place finish that season to the arrival and impact of one Peter Osaze Odemwingie.

It also led to an after-the-watershed terrace song sung about the Odemwingie/Jones interchange by The Potter’s faithful; a song Odemwingie admits does make him smile. As do most things, in all honesty.

“Yeah, that song”, a lean and beaming Odemwingie acknowledges, “my son loves it too, and when I was away at the World Cup we’d Skype and he would be at his happiest when I was singing it. But let me tell you two things – I mean it as no reflection on Kenwyne Jones, plus I obviously do have to change one of the words, too!”

Odemwingie laughs and sighs at the same time. In fact, he laughs a lot as we talk. He’s articulate, bright, knowledgeable on a number of issues both within and away from football, and admits to loving life at Stoke.
In fairness, after the events of 30th August 2014, rather than laughing and joking, Odemwingie would have had more than enough justification to be defensive, tired, and rather less enamoured with his footballing lot.

Whilst his Stoke team were recording a shock 1-0 win at the Etihad Stadium in a league game , Odemwingie’s season, and possibly career, looked to be in real danger of ending. After entering the pitch as a substitute, Odemwingie fell to the floor with no one around him after almost setting up a second Stoke goal. Indeed, even as he was later receiving treatment in the Etihad away dressing room he had no idea of the extent of the injury.

Odemwingie, sits a couple of yards in front of me in training top, shorts and trainers; legs crossed, clutching his injured right knee up to his chest. He has a vivid of that day. “Yeah, sometimes you hear a noise with that kind of injury, but I really didn’t know the extent of how bad the injury was at the time”.

Frank and totally honest about the injury over the course of the next half hour, Odemwingie admits that he was “in huge pain at the time” and was actually scared at the time that he had dislocated his knee due to hearing the crack of his knee bone as he fell. Taking a long swig from his bottle of water, the player talks candidly and openly about what happened next on that fateful day, plus the self-education process he went through to aid his recuperation.

“I looked down and my knee was straight, so I knew that it thankfully wasn’t dislocated. We did the Lachman Test immediately (a clinical test used to diagnose injury of the anterior cruciate ligament). It was 50/50 at that moment as to whether there was ligament damage or not”.

During an injury-ravaged season, where The Potters eventually finished an excellent 9th place once again and boasting a second consecutive record Premier League points tally for the club, Odemwingie wasn’t the only key forward at the Britannia Stadium to suffer knee ligament damage that would effectively end their season.
Bojan Krkić was in a period of devastating form for Stoke when he too went down under no challenge, this time at Spotland in the FA Cup. “Bojan was on fire, playing superbly for us, but with his injury I think they could tell straight away the extent of it, but with mine they couldn’t tell until I went in for an MRI. This confirmed it”, comments Odemwingie.

Many footballers, indeed non-footballers, would have felt sorry for themselves after such an injury. You know, lock yourself away, put your fingers in your ears, play Leonard Cohen cd’s, and generally feel sorry for yourself. Not Odemwingie.

Despite his apparently fragile, lithe frame, Odemwingie is obviously made of mentally stern stuff. He admits to being an extremely positive person – as did Mark Hughes about the player the week after the injury – and also in having an inquisitive anatomical mind, possibly due to his parents both being medical students.

The first thing Odemwingie did was to find out just how long he would be out of the game for. He soon sourced a long list of players who had suffered the same injury, and he took comfort that players did come back from it, and that the likes of Roberto Baggio did so relatively quickly. Indeed, quite matter-of-factly, Odemwingie then cites and describes in detail some of the many testimonies he found on the internet by people who had gone through this injury.
It’s pretty uplifting and very educational how Peter Odemwingie discusses this major injury. It’s an injury that, quite rightly, strikes fear into footballers. But seemingly not Peter Odemwingie. For him, knowledge was power, and central to the recovery process was a desire to find out as much information as possible about ACL injuries.
“Well, I firstly prayed that the diagnosis was wrong, but the bad news came, and so I decided to be proactive and positive and looked myself on the internet about all the relevant details of the injury: how long it would take to get back to full fitness, and what the operation involved and things like that”.

Odemwingie studiously spent hours on various websites trying and succeeding in educating himself about the injury, and the appropriate recuperation process.

The player uncrosses his legs, and leans forward pointing at his knee, hardly taking a breath as he continues, “I looked at the operation procedure on YouTube quite a few times. It was scary the first few times, but I got used to it and got it in my mind that players had come through it and come back strongly”.

Whilst acknowledging that, football-wise, he had more good years behind him than in front of him, Odemwingie was encouraged by his own research work. He also took comfort that his friend and colleague at West Brom, Zoltan Gera, had exactly the same injury in front of him in a match, and he had returned strongly and is still playing. Indeed, Gera has suffered the injury twice.

Describing himself as “naturally fit” and a “glass half full kind of person”, Peter Odemwingie’s long road back to fitness wasn’t without its problems. A second minor operation put his recovery back for a few weeks. The player leans forward and examines the knee, pointing out various incisions and lumps on and around it, making light of both the injury and how it’s left his knee looking.

When I ask if I can have a closer look at said knee, Odemwingie is obliging and moves towards my chair, lifting his knee up. “It feels stronger, but the scars are thick as they went over them twice, but they should be settling down soon.”

By this stage, the Stoke media team are all gathered with me around the Nigerian international’s right leg. Once more, Odemwingie’s perma-smile turns into a chuckle. “Folks, if you look closely at my leg it looks like a face has been drawn on it with the scars from previous injuries. See, there are two eyes, a nose and a mouth further down my leg, ha ha”.

odemwingie 2

When asked about the ‘smile’ that is on this rather unusual and macabre face – a wide scar across the inside of his right shin – Odemwngie laughs again as he recalls the day as a youngster that he ran through a glass door.
Probably the only time that Peter Odemwingie’s face turns deadly serious during our interview is when discussing his comeback appearance for Stoke, back in April. OIt’s well documented that Stoke fans took to Odemwingie from day one, and the renowned Britannia Stadium decibel level was raised a notch or two when he returned to action as a substitute (ahead of schedule) in the 1-1 draw with Sunderland on 25th April 2015.
Odemwingie’s eyes narrow as he recalls the crowd’s reaction to him warming-up down the touchline during the first half, and the ovation he received when finally entering the fray.

“I was always surprised how quickly Stoke fans took to me. I came here and fans saw I was really happy with the move. Everything about the club was right for me. The reception I had that day at comeback game was truly amazing. Ryan Shawcross has been here a number of years and even he said at training during the next week that he had not heard anything quite like it!”

The odd twinge of pain apart, Odemwingie’s speedy recovery has been rewarded by a new contract at Stoke City. He’s well-liked by players and staff at Stoke and despite being 34 has no thoughts of retirement yet. So will Odemwingie remain in sport or possibly even follow in his parent’s medical footsteps?

“I’ve not given it too much thought to be honest, and I could remain in sport. But I definitely do want to get some more education. You never know what will happen next in life….do you?”

And with one last chuckle and smile he was off for another day’s training. Another day on, quite literally, the treadmill of getting back to his fitness levels of yore. Whatever happens to Peter Odemwingie, he’s a unique player – indeed, as he says himself, there are few people about who actually have two smiling faces on them at the same time!


Shakespeare Wows Kids in Keele

Posted on July 11th, 2015 by


– a review by David Conlon.

William Shakespeare is one of the most famous icons of our country, and rightly so. Yet for one reason or another, he has also come to be resented by some. Long tedious essays of days gone by may be to blame, or perhaps experiences of reading plays not dissimilar to learning a foreign language. Therefore you may perhaps have been sceptical of a performance of “The Famous Victories of Henry V” in Keele advertised as being perfect for anybody aged eight and upwards.

A Shakespeare production done properly, for some, is a true joy to behold, and who better to perform it than the Royal Shakespeare Company itself, on Saturday 27th of June, the RSC came to Keele University to perform “The Famous Victories of Henry V”. This was a compilation of the highlights from three of Shakespeare’s plays: Henry IV Parts I and II and Henry V. The play charts the adventures of the young prince Hal and his growth from a rebellious robber to the noble King of England.

In the Keele Chapel I was indeed surprised by the sheer number of young children present there. Yet from the outset it became apparent that they truly did belong there: the actors/actresses were all terribly friendly and sat down and spoke to many families at the start, including myself. I was able to get a conversation with the Henry V (Martin Bassindale) himself. Throughout the play, the children (and indeed some adults) helped with the props, actions and singing. At one point we all played an embattled army of archers; it was all great fun, and ensured that everybody was involved in the action!

The play was very funny indeed, this was down to both Shakespeare’s writing and the actors’ superb performances. Sir John Falstaff, a rather useless, fat, half-drunk old knight, was played splendidly by Simon Yadoo and was simply hilarious. It may not say a lot for my maturity, but he was in fact my favourite character in the play. One of the other great parts was a large battle played out amongst Henry and his enemy Hotspur (played by Evelyn Miller): the choreography, music and sound effects were great, and it was quite a spectacle, despite there being only a small handful of actors present. The music and costumes throughout I Iiked, feeling they only added to the great atmosphere.

The play was very fast-moving without a boring moment, and everybody seemed to thoroughly enjoy it, down to the smallest child. So, Shakespeare may be for everybody after all. But give it a go and decide for yourself!

At the very end, I was very lucky to speak to one of the actors, named Nicholas Gerard-Martin, who gave some interesting insights into life as an actor. He explained how his technique to not being nervous was to simply accept it “nerves are entirely natural, and are a good thing. A mixture of fright and excitement, nerves can enhance a performance if channelled and controlled”. Also, when acting, he said how it is important that “one focusses not only on oneself, but on the other actors” and it is equally important to listen and be aware of them”. Hence, he believes that the best actors are those who are not narcissistic (it is about the character, not them). This may not only be true, but it also makes them far more pleasant people to be around, and Nick was really lovely. And what’s more, he took nearly the same A-levels as myself! Who knows? Perhaps, in years to come you shall be looking at “Hamlet, performed by David Conlon”.

Be that as it may, Nick and the rest of the cast did a truly splendid perfect job with the play, and I enjoyed it immensely. The acting really was faultless in my eyes. It has certainly made me appreciate Shakespeare much more, without a doubt.

By David Conlon.
– See more at: http://www.appetitestoke.co.uk/blog/2015/07/RSC#sthash.eHF1QTHM.dpuf

‘A Cut Through Stoke’: a personal and historical celebration of the Trent and Mersey canal.

Posted on July 11th, 2015 by

‘A Cut Through Stoke’ a personal and historical celebration of the Trent and Mersey canal.

At a Gallery set beneath the historic gates of Spode, Friday the 19th of June marked the opening of a new photography exhibition. ‘A Cut Through Stoke’ is an informative, historical and reminiscent set of images taken of the Trent and Mersey canal, captured over 50 years, by Stoke born photographer John Snow. Held at Gallery 116, the exhibition is a partial look at John’s extensive archive and takes you on a walk, from the Harecastle tunnel through to Hem Heath Colliery. It’s often said, ‘Every picture tells a story’ and this exhibition certainly achieves that.

Engineered by James Brindley, and partially funded by Josiah Wedgwood, the miles upon miles of slowly winding waterways through Stoke-on-Trent directly led to the development the Potteries. Honoured with being the country’s first long-distance canal, the Trent and Mersey is full of interesting features reflecting its history. This captured the imagination of a 14-year-old John Snow, whose passion for photography stems from walks with his grandfather along the stretch of canal running through Middleport.  Having never spent much time on the canals myself, John explained, ‘There’s a certain smell of the canal. It’s addictive’, with the same passion that uses to talk about his work; a personal, historical, celebration of fifty years involvement with this particular canal. As the landscape surrounding the canal in Stoke has changed an incredible amount over 50 years, I agree with Mark Brereton, curator at Gallery 116 who points out that the beauty of John’s collection, a culmination of his experiences and lifetime connection to the canal, is that there are so many unique photos- images nobody else will ever be able get again.

Developed from slides, John’s images are full of colour, capturing children fishing on a hot day, the red clay of Kidsgrove, iconic factories, and the remnants of a time where there was still amass of trade occurring along the canal side. My favourite image was taken in the 70s and features a row of canals boats, Stoke Minister in the distance, a blue Ford Zaffa, Navy Jaguar and Cream Marina Coupe parked alongside the canal.  Full of colour, light, and the charming grain of film, it looks as though it could be taken somewhere in the Mediterranean and is so rich and textured I felt as though I could step into the landscapes. Looking at the image, I find it a comfort to think that beneath the bustle of our modern day city, there is a peaceful walkway.

John Snow loves the canals and this passion is reflected in his images. He has dedicated his life to documenting its changes since the age of 14, when his grandfather took him to the canal for the first time, and I am pleased that he has chosen to share some of those images at Gallery 116 with us. Having lived in Stoke a while now, there is so much I still need to see. From the exhibition, I took away a renewed enthusiasm to get creatively snapping, the need to jump out of the car once in a while to explore the city at a slower pace and a desire to find the Harecastle tunnel and ‘Heartbreak Hill’ too. The exhibition is open Tuesday to Saturday 10-3 till the 19th of July at Gallery 116 Church Street, Stoke, ST1 4BU, so be sure to go along and experience it.

By Gabriella Gay.
– See more at: http://www.appetitestoke.co.uk/blog/2015/07/CTS#sthash.9Io3Wwas.dpuf

On yer bike – top Stokies ride for a top cause

Posted on July 2nd, 2015 by


Top Stokies and top lads ride out for a top cause

DUCK is proud to put on here a blog from Rich Hewitt (many will know him as Chewy) that he wrote after doing a coast to coast bike ride at the beginning of May for MacMillan Cancer.
Rich and his brother (Rob) run the coaches from The Furlong, Tunstall and The Clough, Kidsgrove to all home matches and a few away ones, and have done so for the last 15 years. Their mum, Christine Slater, sadly passed away in November. She was a devoted Stoke fan and season ticket holder sitting in the Lower West Stand.
On the bike ride were Chewy and his eldest lad (Dan) both season ticket holders; Rob and his 2 lads (Simon & Joe) also season tickets holders; Martin and David Convey, and Martin Middleton also season ticket holders; so as you see it was a proper Stokie ride out. They did have a Crewe fan and 2 Manchester United fans, but we’ll make exceptions for them!
The route taken is called The Way Of The Roses and went from Morecambe in the West to Bridlington in the east. But the group turned off just after York and went to Scarborough; Scarborough being Rich and Rob’s mum’s most favourite place on earth – second only to Tunstall!
Here is their diary…….

Day 1

Saturday seems such a long time ago now and Morecambe seems such a long way away but we started off at 8:30 in relatively good weather compared to what was to come later and everyone was in quite good spirits laughing about Plecker’s bike being written off the day before by the bike shop when he took it in to be serviced and having our photo’s taken with Eric Morecambe’s statue.

After 8 miles when we were well past Lancaster and everything seemed to be going along swimmingly we came off the flat bike track and hit our 1st hill after this things seemed to go down hill (unlike the route)!

We stopped at 18 miles for a brew and someone mentioned they thought they felt a spot of rain, oh yes! When we came out of the cafe the heavens opened and that was it for day 1.

We had wind and driving rain in our faces for the next 40 miles, the temperature dropped and we even had hail for a time.

At 35 miles in we were all thankful to see Settle knowing we could have a brew and some warm food. Unfortunately the infamous Settle bank loomed over the town like a dragon just waiting to be slayed.

After a good stop and refuel I was 1st at it and after 100 yards I was off my bike and pushing, oh my god it was steep! With the Speakster passing me at full tilt growling as he went I knew the dragon was going to be beaten and with back up from Daniel Hewitt​ and Joseph Hewitt​ they all put in a turn that even Sir Bradley would be proud of.

The banks just kept on coming though and at 51 miles I was nearly beaten and suggested calling it a day, it was still hammering it down with rain and the wind never let up but thankfully Big Rob Hewitt used his authority and kicked me up the arse and got me moving again.

We all arrived eventually in Pateley Bridge, very down but not quite out at about 19:30: it was a full days cycling in the most brutal weather imaginable and we quickly loaded the bikes on to the trailer and got to the hotel for hot baths and showers and get things dried off for the following day.

You know it’s been a tough day when all there is for me to say about the night is we had tea and a couple of pints and went to bed praying that the weather and terrain would ease for the morning.

Day 2

More details of Rio Ferdinand’s wife were read about at breakfast in the morning and on a personnel level it gave me more determination to try and get at you guys through social media to help make a massive final total which we are well on the way to getting so that we can help MacMillan to help those who are struck with the terrible illness of cancer.

On another level the rain was torrential and it seemed we were in for another drenching. We had to drive back 15 miles to where we finished the previous day which was quite dis-heartening, but onward we went.

The rain was still coming down quite hard but there was definitely breaks in the clouds and the air was some what warmer than the previous day. all this and no wind on top made the morning nearly tropical compared to Saturday!

We rode through Studley Park a national trust area with wild deer roaming all about which was lovely to see. All we needed were Stetsons and 6 shooters and we could of been those cowboys at home on the range!

Sorry I digress!

By 2 hours in, we had reached Ripon where we stopped the night before and the lack of hills was a major positive talking point. This time around I was the one to push Big Rob on and what a decision that was. We stopped at the Lamb and Flag in Bishop Monkton which did the most delicious carvery dinner any cyclist could want to see. With a few also tucking into dessert them calories were certainly being replaced, hey Simon Hewitt​ and Steve Darwen​.

By the time dinner was eaten the sun was out and the wet weather gear was coming off, the little pulls and strains which were beginning to hurt were put at the back of our minds as we cycled through the lovely little villages on the way to York. We had one major shower in the afternoon but even that was dodged luckily by having the van close to hand, Robert Hagan​ doing a sterling job as Team Pies back up man.

And so York, with one little incident where I decided to go a different way than the rest and ended up having to catch them up by 15 minutes but even that was chuckled about as we had coffee and cakes in a café opposite York Minster.

After that time was getting on so a few photo’s were taken on the steps of the minster and onward we went, the final 10 miles in a breeze apart from 200 yards from the end when I mentioned that the bus was picking us up at a pub and Plecker decided to skid along a kerb and do a full on front roll off his bike and luckily on to some grass! Barry Sheene, Eddie Kidd and Evil Knievel all in one go.

After a cracking days riding where we did almost 60 miles we were all up for a good meal and a few well deserved drinks, this though seemed to be going wrong when the restaurant joined on to the hotel had no room for us all to eat together.

This though was Team Pie and eat together we shall, so after Dave and Martin Convey​ got their nimble fingers working on the internet and socializing with the locals, a curry house was found in town which would accept 14 ravenous Stokies!

And off we went with time against us and every traffic signal at red we made it eventually thanks to google maps!

As we all settled down to our poppadum’s and dips, Steve Darwen just happened to mention he had a friend in York that night who was there with her daughter who just so happens to be a bit of a film star: of course dodgey looks we’re exchanged by the group especially when he mentioned she was the Bond girl in Quantum of Solace!

After no encouragement at all we pushed him in to seeing if she wanted to come to him and say hi to some kind hearted charity workers! As soon as the Bond girl was mentioned google got to work again and pictures were quickly being handed around the table stopping for a lot of time with Martin Middleton.

Anyway after a bit of time and a lot of stretching necks looking out the window every time a female walked past there she was, and yes she was stunning. She was a Russian lady, absolutely gorgeous and lovely, but after 15 minutes the curry came and the interest of most of us oldens waned.

We managed to get a picture of her for posterity’s sake and she was gone.

With the curry eaten I was ready for the off but for some reason Big Rob wanted to stay, this if anyone knows me and my brother is usually the opposite way around and I couldn’t understand why he was up for stopping! My questions were answered though very soon after when the restaurant staff brought out a massive chocolate birthday cake and everyone was singing to me!

After blowing out the few candles on the cake I had more of a problem blowing out the 14 flaming Sambuca’s which came along after, with them necked (not just by me may I add) and the cake eaten it was time to go and the end of a day I’ll never forget but not before loads of selfie’s by the Speakmeister though (he really does get tipsy very easy now he’s a walking iron man).

Thanks guys you made it a brilliant day.

 Day 3

The day started on a high and I just knew it was going to get better and better.

The weather was beautiful and we were all buzzing after the previous night. It was decided to really try and push the money total up as it was nearing the £1000 mark, so Olga was tweeted for a retweet (Olga was the Bond girl, oh yes we were all on 1st name terms) and Duck magazine was tweeted for a retweet as well.

Olga retweeted straight away to her 70’000 followers and later in the day she gave £100 to Dave’s justgiving page, what a top lady.

And so we started off on what I knew was going to be an emotional day for all us Hewitt’s, we were heading for Scarborough the scene of Hewitt holidays for the last 50 years and memories were a plenty at quiet times cycling closer and closer through the country.

Even a massive bank and Steve going the wrong way couldn’t dampen todays spirits and as we powered our way through pretty village after pretty village the excitement to be so close to finishing was really in the air.

Dinner was at a farm shop in the small village of Butterwick, where we pulled together some wooden benches on to grass and had a lovely picnic in the Yorkshire sun. Once Steve finally got to us after his 10 mile detour and ate his dinner we decided to leave, but with the total now at £1000 we all had that little extra spring in our step.

We got our 1st glimpse of the North Sea and the East Coast just outside Humanby, and with 10 miles left all signs were pointing to Scarborough.

After what I though was the last hill I decided to surprise the lads with a couple more but even that couldn’t stop these guys now and just before we turned right and went down The Esplande they all seemed to let me and my brother pass and lead the way in to Scarborough and for that I’m truly thankful.

We stopped at a place we call “The View” it looks over the South bay of Scarborough and holds a lot of special memories for us. Being there and doing what we did the way we did it, was a very proud moment and I know my Mum and Dad would be so proud of their 2 sons and their 3 grandsons.

I’m not ashamed to admit it a lot of tears were shed and I’ve got a couple now but anyone who’s lost people close will know that when you feel that you’ve done them proud, it does you proud – if you know what I mean!

Anyway photo’s were taken and hugs were given and shaken hands were going around everywhere, we all did brilliantly, especially after that 1st day.

After that we then went down to the beach so the bikes could be wheeled in the sea and the pebbles which were collected on Morecambe beach could be thrown in to Scarbough’s sea.

So job done, the only thing left was to go and get fish and chips from of the front so that’s what we ended up doing, which were lovely may I add.

I just wanted to say a couple of thank you’s.

Firstly a big thanks to Robert Hagan who drove the minibus and trailer and kept photo’s coming on this site. He did a cracking job.

Then to Speaky, Rob and Dan because I swear that 1st day I just hated it and they kept me going.

Speaky again for getting me up them hills on the last day, it was like having your very own P.E teacher.”go on fella just up to the brow, go to the shadow, 10 more yards, now push, go on, go on”

Then to all you guys who sponsored us whether it was on the justgiving page or on the sponsor forms, we’re going to give it a week or so then we’ll be hassling for any money outstanding. We’re hoping for a few thousand pounds so its a top effort.

Lastly, we’re having a raffle from the Furlong over the next month and there’s some cracking prizes including something off Robbie!

Cheers folks and don’t forget if you’ve not yet put something on the justgiving page, don’t be shy give it a try, any amount is better than nowt!

Cheers Chewy x x