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Fran volunteers at The MoonWalk Edinburgh 2013

The night and volunteering was a feeling I will never forget, it’s hard to describe, but feeling like you help someone else get there is almost better than getting there yourself… I really hope I made a difference to a couple of people. I was so pleased to see that lovely last lady finish – I was so proud of her and also proud of WTW for how they looked after her.

I just wanted to say thank you for one of the best nights of my life and certainly one of the best events I’ve ever been involved in.

I flew up to Edinbra early on Saturday having not slept that well (thought I was going to forget something!). HAving only started my bra decorating on the friday I was, as I always am, very behind. I thought I had finished it, but by saturday I had decided it was too dull and needed more bling, so on arrival in Edinbra I went shopping and eventually found some bits and managed to buy a sewing kit. I went to the hotel where I had been kindly offered a last minute room and settled down to sew whilst waiting for Sharon.

Sharon arrived and we had a chat, then went to bed for an hour or so (that sounds so bad – I mean we went for a quick snooze in separate beds!) before getting up and heading out to the Pasta pig out organised by Muvver… thanks again for that. Met some lovely ladies and gents, some I already knew, some not. Carol, I only realised who you were on the forum (d’oh!) when I was flying home on Sunday!!! I can very very dense sometimes!!!!

Off to the pink tent… lovely to see forum folk and friends like Penny. Hugs from Steve and Babs – unmissable. Yvonne, (that hair??????) and so many many people – too many to name. The two lovely ladies who I did 3 LC with last year and can’t for the life of me remember their names… sorry.

I loved the entertainment in the tent… the ‘Beatles’ were fab, Rock choir amazing and for me listening to NIna talking about what is going on and getting information from people is really important… I’m quite sad that someone thinks all that should be stopped… it reminds us how important what we are doing is, and makes you know you are making a difference, however small or large your contribution. A minute silence to think, some lovely hugs, and we’re on our way.

I did a half moon this year and loved it – not done a half since my first event for WTW in 2003. I enjoyed the route (yes even Arthur’s seat) and apart from a little annoying rain now and again had a perfect walk. Not cold, so bra on show all the way (though I must say I wear a shrug – actually to stop my arms rubbing but it makes such a difference warmth wise as well). I needed the loo at mile 2 but told myself to just get on with it and wait – and I didn’t go all walk! Volunteers were lovely as usual, makes such a difference. I walked the last two miles with two ladies, one from just outside Glasgow and one from St Andrew’s… I was glad of their company for I had missed the mile 11 sign and was getting a little despondent on my own, so I asked them and we just chatted and walked after that and it really helped my pace. I finished in 3hrs 27 which is my quickest time for a walk of that distance so was really pleased.

Off I went to the volunteer tent to register… I was due to check in for 6, but it said “or earlier” and I was so full of adrenaline and energy that I decided to just go for it. So I got my kit and changed into my second outfit of the night. As luck would have it as I came out there were a group of volunteers just back who were wanting to go out again and a desperate call from zone 24 where they were short of people – so off I went in the bus and met Leigh the team leader. I was then at a crossroads most of the way up the royal mile on that horrible hill. I arrived there at 4am, and so I was lucky enough to watch every single walker from the very first full mooner (she had some pace that lady!) until the very last full mooners (who were struggling but valiantly carrying on) come through the zone. I saw many over the mooners and lots of people I knew. I loved being able to try to cheer people on, tell them how well they were doing, give them a boost, a hug where necessary, get them across the road and on their way. Later on I discovered that the over the mooners were coming past me again on the crossing route, which made for some interesting people herding but I was escorting them over the road and the cars were fabulous… most of them holding at the lights even when they changed to let these fantastic people keep going on their way. I could see how hard they were having to work, and it must have taken tremendous mental strength as well as physical to get round that… by the time they were passing me on that second loop they were well spread and in singles or twos at most.. a real test of character as well as legs.

The last walkers through we hopped on the bus back to moonwalk city, where I asked if I could go to the finish line. And so it was that I saw home the last of the full mooners (lovely – and so pleased they made it) and waited patiently for the over the mooners to arrive. I had promised I would be there to watch them finish… and I was, right until the very last made it through. The night and volunteering was a feeling I will never forget, it’s hard to describe, but feeling like you help someone else get there is almost better than getting there yourself… I really hope I made a difference to a couple of people. I was so pleased to see that lovely last lady finish – I was so proud of her and also proud of WtW for how they looked after her.

I was also proud to see how many finished and so sorry for those who didn’t, but never forget the effort and achievement you had to get as far as you did.

I was then lucky enough to hang around a bit and help the team on site (I had nothing else to do and they didn’t seem to object!) which gave me even more insight into just how much work has to be done so we can walk the walk. I had wanted to volunteer this year to see the other side of it, saw a bit of it in London and more of it in Edinbra and I am in awe of the team who do so much and work such long hours to get everything as it should be and then leave it without a trace so we can hopefully be welcomed back.

I headed back to the airport for my late flight, caught an hours snooze at the airport then fell into bed at home that night at 11pm… that makes it about 41 hours up with about 2 hours sleep… so I admit that once I did the school run on Monday morning I went back to bed for a couple of hours! It’s taken me this long to get back on here because I’ve been back at work too, but then I’m used to operating odd hours on not much sleep – I’m off to a night shift later tonight.

I genuinely feel that I had one of the best evenings I’ve ever had, I’ve always loved being part of WtW and I’m still so proud to be associated with something so incredible. I only wish I could do more than I do. You’re in my soul now and I don’t ever want to stop.

For anyone considering volunteering, don’t hesitate, do it, it was an amazing experience and one I want to repeat again.

So thank you Walk the Walk for giving me such an experience and letting me be part of something so special.
Love,
Fran xxx

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