In this article, Damian describes a walking journey he made recently. All as part of his bid to raise money for BHF in memory of his late father.
On 14th April 2022 at 5 am, we travelled to Burwash in East Sussex to visit my father’s birth and resting place.
Burwash is in my soul not only because of my dad but because of the childhood memories it gave to me enjoying those long English summers.
Our family migrated from the beauty of industrial Manchester to the south every year to spend the summer with my dad’s family, aunts, uncles and cousins.
The village was always full of family members or people connected to our family.
The times may have changed but the village hasn’t. The Bear Inn was still there, Bateman’s – the 17th Century house and home of Rudyard Kipling, was as stunning as ever. The views over the Sussex Downs evoked memories of an amazing childhood.
After making good time and arriving at 10 am, we visited my dad at his Southern resting place in the beautiful graveyard of St Bartholomew’s. Then we headed onto Eastbourne to walk the Seven Sisters.
Walking from Beachy Head
It was a stunning day on Beachy Head, with no wind just a gentle breeze and glorious sunshine.
Chantelle took control of Emily and I walked with my boy Thomas.
The dogs could have walked for days. Though they were appreciative of the refreshment stop at Birling, their desire to ‘plough on’ with the walking was visible.
We were joined by my friend and colleague Daniel Rowe. As a local, Daniel was able to offer insight into the countryside that was new information for me.
On completing the walk, we returned to our overnight accommodation which was a beautiful cottage on the grounds of a traditional Eastbourne home.
A dinner in The Ship followed and the favoured combination of champagne and fish and chips was enjoyed!
Early next morning we decided not to rush in the bank holiday traffic and remained to enjoy the coastal scene at Eastbourne.
Stones in My Shoes
Enjoying coffee next to the beach, we watched the swimmers and the paddleboarders, and I remembered the days when my dad would walk me across the pebbles down to the seashore. Maybe I complained of the pebbles hurting my feet but, on this holiday, there were no complaints just a series of memories of the man who died 25 years ago but remains in my heart every day of my life.
I would like to thank all of those who kindly sponsored me on this journey and raised substantial sums for the British Heart Foundation.
Their work is invaluable and if it can help all of the dads (and mums) to stay around a little longer with their children then I am in full support of them.
If you wish to contribute there is still time, please visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/damian-james3