Tuesday, 31 July 2012


Our combined fund-raising total has just cruised by the £1,000 mark and our blog has been read more than 1,000 times. OK, so it might not be troubling the 1 billion people who tuned in for the other major athletic event taking place in the UK, but we’re deeply appreciative nonetheless.

Thanks to clever Google, we can see that followers in the USA, Russia, Netherlands, Canada, Ireland, Germany, New Zealand, Australia, Switzerland, South Africa, Japan and the Isle of Man (in that order) are joining a significant audience from England, Scotland and Wales. To all those who have taken a look and pledged a donation so far, thank you.
We set ourselves a target of £10,000, so there is still a long way to go. That sum looks about as daunting as the 75 miles that stretch ahead of our rather unfit bodies, especially as work has forced me to slump back in to my 50 yards a day as I walk from car to desk and back again. Gerry has done rather better (youth is on his side of course) and I read of his nine miler last Sunday as I walked the 500 yards back from Sunday lunch at the pub.
He has a reason for ensuring tip top Olympian fitness though, because at the end of a long day on the road, he will don his stage outfit and deliver a free performance from his exceptional repertoire of one man Dickens shows (www.geralddickens.com). Like travelling Troubadours, we will sing for our supper in return for discounted support from our overnight stops in Godalming and Rowlands Castle. Well, Gerry will throw his all in to one hour of energetic emotion while I’ll exhaust myself by introducing him and passing round the top hat for donations at the end of the show.
If you live near the Inn on the Lake in Godalming, or The Robin Hood Inn at Rowlands Castle, the performances on the evening of August 6th and 8th respectively, are absolutely free. The owners of the establishments will be grateful for your custom, so please arrive both thirsty and hungry. But keep back some cash – preferably the type that folds - to help us towards our ambitious total.

Legendary character actress Miriam Margolyes OBE is the latest to lend her support for our efforts, especially as we raise cash for the National Literacy Trust as well as the Charles Dickens Statue Fund. The star of Blackadder, Harry Potter and Wicked, is a life-long fan of Dickens and is currently touring her brilliant Dickens’ Woman show around the UK and America. She writes; “Nothing would have been closer to Charles Dickens’s heart than the National Literacy Campaign and it is wonderful that his great-great grandsons are walking in Nicholas Nickleby and Smike’s footsteps to raise money for this great cause. All who cherish Charles Dickens’ memory will want to give generously as the boys walk towards Portsmouth where the great man was born.”
The Daily Telegraph has confirmed that they would like to write ‘a colourful feature’ on our challenge and both the BBC and ITV will join us at various stages of the walk. BBC Radio Solent will feature live updates every day from Monday 6th August and Portsmouth’s daily paper The News is another strong local supporter.
With such media interest, we wonder if Danny Boyle is looking for a new challenge to launch us on our way this coming Sunday. While we don’t have the £27,000,000 he had access to, it is clear our project is attracting a global audience and with a packet of sparklers and a box of party poppers, we should be able to make quite an impact in Golden Square as we step out at 9.30am.
If you can’t be there to cheer us off, please do the next best thing and pledge your support to help us towards our target. And if you can share this link amongst your own contacts - wherever they may live - then even better.
TO SUPPORT THE NATIONAL LITERACY TRUST, GO TO: http://www.justgiving.com/Dickenswalk

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