The Challenge, by Eládio Oliveira De Macêdo Neto

... So, there I was, with my Photograph on Facebook, walking around with a log of wood on my shoulder?

..."What was that about?" - asked Maggie in Waitrose Cafe....

"I am trying to improve my fitness and increase my strength", I said…

"... Then why not get sponsors and do it for charity? ... She replied ..."

... So the challenge was Set...

.. A log measuring about 1.7 metres (5 1/2 feet) long, weighing 25 kilos (4 stones) to be carried 10 miles without touching the ground.

The route was a natural choice – a round route from Berkhamsted to Hemel Hempstead, straight forward and with plenty of attention and witnesses that I had achieved the task.

The starting point was Costa Coffee in Berkhamsted High Street where my sister Marly Neta is the Manager.

Oliver with log at the Gatsby

Obviously, for safety reasons, not wishing to carry the log through Saturday morning shoppers, it seemed sensible to choose a place for refreshment on the outskirts of Hemel Hempstead's town centre and Starbucks near the moor end round about fitted the bill nicely.

The idea of taking photographs on route for further proof of my walk was considered important but difficult to carry out if I went alone so my stepfather, Paul Baylis, offered his services and I appreciated his company and all-round support.

Arrangements were made for the walk to take place on Saturday 4th of July 2015 and following a spell of very hot sunny days we experienced a heavy storm with torrential rain on the Friday night beforehand and this helped to cool the air down for the big day after.

The Saturday morning, finally arrived and after collecting a few more sponsors and picture taking , we set off from the Costa store about 9-50 am , walking along the main road towards the swing gate lane end of Berkhamsted.

Our First pause (but log still firmly on shoulder) was the 'Berkhamsted tool hire shop' where a shop assistant and customer kindly posed for our camera.

Oliver with Log at Berko Tool Hire

We continued on and into Bourne End where we met two more people who posed for the camera, opposite the sugar lane entrance, the couple were runners, John who Paul who I coincidently worked with some twenty five years previously and his wife who we understand also works for The Hospice of St Francis.

Our Journey continued into Bourne end where we gathered together a few more people for a photograph, including staff outside the Great Outdoors Store.

Along through Bourne End, down to and through Boxmoor past the railway station and turning left towards Hemel Hempstead town centre along station road.  Another couple joined for a picture near St Johns Church.

On reaching Starbucks via the underpass below Moor End roundabout, we made the most of a 15 minute stop to consume as much water as possible. Here there was another coincidence as a gentleman started talking to us and he stated that his Berkhamsted Company had designed the Hospice Logo.

By now it was 11.40am and the heat was really building up again. Our walk back was a little quicker as with one exception we only took snapshots of recognisable buildings.

Two young ladies we knew from our local post office had their picture taken with me as I came close to my finishing point.

The three hours walking went very quickly and in addition to the pedestrians we saw each way, many people in passing vehicles cheered me on, shouting or honking their horns.

To summarise, it was one of my best experiences of my life. I have been overwhelmed by the number of people who have acknowledged my feat.

More people have made donations and I am being encouraged to plan a similar walk in the near future.

Oliver with log near end of challenge

Please watch this space...

In the meantime, I would like to thank Maggie for her encouragement and support  and everyone who kindly sponsored/donated on my challenge for The Hospice of St Francis and making it a great success.

"If you want to do anything, embrace it and do it! Don't let other people's opinions leave you in the corner, believe in yourself" - Eládio Oliveira De Macêdo Neto

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