Thursday, 21 November 2013

Shoreham Fort - Seven Forts Challenge

Hello and welcome to my blog. Sorry its been such a long time since I dropped in, but boy, what a difference a fortnight makes. It can be summed up in three words - Adur Ferry Bridge.

Althougth I saw it take shape, it was only when we were on it that we really appreciated its beauty. With its broad, uncluttered walkway, glass sides and stylish lighting, it really is magnificent. I contacted Tony Bathmaker, one of the project managers, and he's been delighted with the response and like me, has become aware that people are strolling across just for the sheer pleasure of it. So thank you WSCC, Osborne Contractors and everyone else who had a hand in making it.

I can't find a link between that and my next piece, so I'm going to dive straight in and tell you about the Seven Forts Challenge which was completed by some of the Friends of Shoreham Fort on the August Bank Holiday.

L-R Gary Baines, Craig Searle, Hayley Cropp, Tony Gilfrin and Andy Vincent

For ten months, Craig Searle, meticulously planned the route which took in Forts Southwick, Widley, Purbrook, and Farlington Redoubt. The intention was to complete it in 24 hours, so in the ten weeks leading up to the 24th August, they practised walking the 14 mile route between Shoreham and Brighton Marina RNLIs. 
When the day itself arrived, they received a great send off at Fort Nelson, and set off at 10.50 a.m, slightly behind schedule.

            Shadowed by Phil Penfold and Julie Searle in the support bus, they made great progress initially, but the walk on the shingle beach from Bognor to Littlehampton, took its toll. By the time they had reached Littlehampton Fort, Gary had injured his knee, Hayley her back, and Craig his calf muscles. All, but Gary, had blisters on blisters. He avoided those by changing his boots at every stop.
By 4.00 a.m they had reached Ferring. Then the rain set in. The walkers were now tired, wet and injured, so the support team fought their own exhaustion to lift their friends spirits. Meantime, back at home, Sharon Penfold was posting their progress on their Facebook page, but even she, "could just tell that morale was going through the floor,” 
            Nevertheless they trudged on, supporting each other and taking strength from friends and family who turned up to cheered them on.  
            They finally arrived at Shoreham Fort at 8.20a.m, having completed the 50 mile route in 22 hours. “ I never in a million years thought I would do it. It’s an amazing feeling,” said Hayley.
            Over the succeding two days, the walkers nursed their injuries, tended their blisters and Gary slowly re-gained the use of his legs. "I was like Bambi the day after. I got out of back and thump! Straight on the floor!" Would they do it again? I think the jury is still out.
            As always, the Friends would be pleased to welcome any new volunteers and if you missed their moving Remembrance Day service this year, here's a flavour of that crisp, cold evening.
 And I almost forgot, Shoreham Bonfire night. Another super, family event and an unmissable night. I did feel for the volunteers who ignored the torrential rain to build up the bonfire. Thank you. 

It's time to go now. Thanks for popping by and see you soon.


Friday, 8 November 2013

Your weekend starts here.

Hello and welcome to my blog. It's lovely to see you again.
  I've got lots to cover this week, but precious little time in which to do it so it's bullet points and capitals I'm afraid.
The procession will start at Beach Green at 6.30pm and shimmie down Kings Walk to the Church of the Good Shepherd.  The firework display is due to start at 7.15pm and the best view point is on Kings Walk or the nearby beach.
  If one of your party is in a mobility scooter or wheelchair, it's suggested that the beach side of the church garden would be a good spot but there's no guarantee of an uninterrupted view of the fireworks. When is there ever?
  It is a lovely community event and VERY well attended, so my top tips are:
  • Get there early and wear shoes suitable for walking on shingle
  • If you are travelling to the event from elsewhere DO NOT PARK ANYWHERE on the BEACH,  unless you like queuing in traffic. 
  • PARK in the ADUR REC CARPARK or in SHOREHAM TOWN and walk across the Norfolk Bridge then along the riverbank or road. The riverbank will take you to the procession, the road will take you to the Church of the Good Shepherd, the location of the fireworks and bonfire. Remember THE FOOTBRIDGE IS CLOSED until 13th November.
  • The riverbank path is narrow with steep sides so take care. 
  • Put children in hi-vis vests if you don't want to lose them. Adults can wear them too but may be mistaken for marshalls.
PLEASE DONATE - it's a free event organised by a team of volunteers.
PLEASE VOLUNTEER - They need helpers to build up the bonfire on Saturday morning, and clear up on Sunday morning.
This is a gentle and reflective event where tears may flow.
  It is suitable for families, but, as it is a solemn event, racing around the ramparts during the service isn't encouraged.
We've got two events for the price of one. 
  The first event, organised by West Sussex County Council, is the official opening of the bridge by HRH the Duke of Gloucester at 12.30pm. 
  The second is a celebration organised by Adur and Worthing Councils from 3.00 - 6.30pm. Personal highlights are the community conga across the bridge at 4.00pm and the fireworks display at 6.30pm.      
  Anyone who fancies wiggling across our new bridge should assemble at Star Gap beside Coronation Green at 3.45pm or the beach side at about 4.10pm.

See you over the weekend. I'll be all muffled up but won't be wearing a hi-vis this year!

Thanks for dropping by and ta-ra for now.