Making Memories… Giving Hope

Summer Series - Meet Volunteer Edward Chapman

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Edward Chapman has been a volunteer on many CHICKS breaks and is a fierce supporter of the charity's work. Earlier this year, to celebrate his 65th birthday, Edward decided to complete the ultimate running challenge. Running an extra mile every day of the month of June, starting with one, all the way up to 30. Here is his personal account of his epic challenge, and the many happy memories that motivated him.

"My running challenge was my 65th birthday present to myself. You might think that running every day for a month with the distance in miles each day equalling the day number was a strange gift, but I love running and I know that tough challenges, as well as being life affirming, bring many magic moments. It was tough especially towards the end; the penultimate week involved running 140 miles and the total for the last week was 189 miles.

I did most of the running on the coastal path between Hayle and Porthtowan, so I had some amazing sea views and the inland views were pretty good. I also saw lots of plant an animal life: caterpillars, butterflies, lizards, kestrels, rabbits, seals and lots more. I met lots of people, the youngest was 5 weeks old and the oldest was in her 90s. They came from all over the UK and from overseas, mainly from Germany and the Netherlands. It made me fully realise how important our natural heritage, and particularly the Coastal Path, is for the Cornwall economy.

There were times when I saw nobody. As one young walker I met observed 'you tend to only see people near car parks.' I would spend those times just idly thinking about life and sometimes those thoughts would turn to memories of volunteering on a CHICKS break. The first memory that popped up was about pizza making. One of the children didn’t want to get involved because she might get her clothes dirty. When I explained that her clothes could be washed before she went home, she tentatively helped with the mixing, by the time it came to knead the dough the flour was flying. That was the start of her opening up, getting involved in activities and making friends. One of my favourites was when the smallest boy on a break pushed me off a raft into the river (in fun). In the evening, when the children reflected on their day it was his best part of the day. Seeing me being pushed in the river was also the best part of the day for several the children. I enjoyed it as well, however my best part of the day was seeing all the children enjoying themselves being outdoors.

My all-time favourite memory was when I conquered my fear of heights. The last time I volunteered I decided that I would join in with the climbing activities, previously I had sat these sessions out. I got kitted out but when we got to the start of the high ropes walk, I almost bottled it. One of the children told me she was too scared to do it. We shared our fears and made a pact to do it together. Wow what an amazing sense of achievement we had when we both got to the end. We then went on to tackle the climbing wall and the abseiling.

Those memories helped me get through the tough patches during my running challenge. I know children that have been on a CHICKS break have similar memories and these will help them in their tough lives.

It was wonderful to have some friends join me for the final miles of my challenge and to see Mick and Jan from CHICKS at the finish, however what was even more wonderful was having those great memories from volunteering on CHICKS breaks to keep me motivated.

It was a tough journey which had some very pleasurable experiences and created some great memories to treasure for years to come. A very good birthday present, although I think next year, I’m going to buy wine."

Has Edward inspired you to take on your own fundraising challenge for CHICKS? There are no limits! You pick a challenge and we'll support you every step of the way! To discuss your ideas, call Kayleigh on 01822 811125 or email kayleigh@chicks.org.uk. 

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