Special People (EBC – 25 weeks to go)

Sunday 12th May 2013

Spring continues, it was actually sunny for two full days this week  and we walked, a long way, on one of them. Stats of the week. Weight, no change, I’m stuck! Yoga none. Physio sessions one, my back feels like I’ve had it squeezed through one of those old fashioned mangles used to wring out the washing in the olden days! Then it has been twisted, bit like a cheese straw looks. Oucchhhh! Walks three. 11hrs 6mins; 26.5 mls covered and 5610ft in climbs. Bike rides one; 24:5mls; 2hrs 24 mins; 2115ft in climbs.

I am often asked what do I think about doing all this training, how do I pass the time? The answer is actually not a lot, because I’m a bit of an air head, so mostly nothing passes through at all.  However occasionally something springs into my brain. I don’t know why. This week special people cropped up starting with one man. In his 2003  introduction, to the autobiography he assisted in writing, Bob Harris writes about a man who had played football nearly fifty years previously in Italy. He describes a moment when the following happens.

‘…It is to imagine just how popular he remains in a country where he played for just five seasons, and that a long, long time ago, but the passing years have not diminished his fame in any way. As we walked down the streets of the little town of Biella, nestling at the foot of the Alps, an hour way from Milan and Turin where he played with such distinction for a Juventus side in their absolute pomp, children and adults alike ran up to him to say hello.

Admittedly, Big John still cut an awesome and easily recognisable figure – tall, white hair swept back, broad shoulders and enchanting smile lighting up a face with the strongest of features – but it still came as a surprise as local inhabitants almost exploded with joy at seeing him again. There were cries of “Il Re! Il Re!” As they jumped up from their seats in the street cafes, where they were enjoying the autumn sun before the snow came.

What was truly amazing was the age range of those who leapt to their feet to pat him on the back or shake his hand. From callow youth to grizzled veteran, they all knew and respected this hero of the past. No reminders were required. They knew that here was someone special.’

(King John the Autobiography, John Charles with Bob Harris, Headline, 2003)

I happen to see John Charles on his return to England. I also met him once, towards the end of his life. On both occasions I felt the same as those people in Italy. I was in the presence of a special, unique, different person capable of doing things most of us can only dream about, pretend to be like or wish we were so blessed. He was a special person. So was Bobby Moore. So was George Harrison. I’m sure you could all pick someone different, someone you think is special. A Dad. A Mum. A Grandad. An Aunty. All these people in a family I know have had cancer. I bet you know a family that’s similar!

In closing can I ask you to pass the blog address, http://www.charleseverestbasecamp.wordpress.com, on to your friends, they might read it, and support Macmillan. Alternatively, they could also do this by visiting http://www.justgiving.com/Charles-Appleyard

Until next time. Goodbye

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