Ben’s Epic Christmas Boxes – Season 3: Lego Strikes Back

Update posted by Ginny Walker On Sep 27, 2021

Well, after a better night's sleep than I first imagined, with the aching feet and legs, we were up and at breakfast just after 7.30 am. There's nothing like a veggie fry up to feel well fuelled and raring to go, although it was rather foggy and drizzling as we left the Youth Hostel.

We set off, well-seasoned (after a few days!) intrepid explorers, into the largest blanket of fog as we walked up the gentle, meandering slope of the Downs. We had to keep a very close eye on the path and pay attention that morning, while we were chatting as it was very easy to wander away from the Way!

We met runners, walkers and cyclists all along the entire route, some up for the 100 mile challenge; others fundraising or setting out to accomplish some personal record in running or cycling.

As the fog lifted, the beauty of the landscape, once again revealed itself to us and the glitter of the sunlight on the sea and casting its shadow through clouds on the other side of us, over the hills, was a sight to behold!

We had set off a little later than planned, but as the steep inclines and long drops commenced, we kept up the best pace we could. We encountered butterflies and tree tunnels through tiny villages in the middle of nowhere, before arriving at Alfriston, where we were drawn into a beautiful book shop called Much Ado Books, filled with literary goodies and second hand delights. We found a number of Virginia Woolf books and I bought To The Lighthouse as a treat.

It was lunchtime in Alfriston, so we found ourselves looking for something to bolster us for the last stretch along Seven Sisters and so the welcoming Badgers Tea Room was the perfect place to sit down, reapply the suncream and motor through the best cream tea! We even kept a scone for later, which was devoured overlooking the sea at Seven Sisters!

After climbing those relentless and very steep hills later that afternoon and flying at a pace past the lighthouse looking out over the cliffs, we continued onward towards Beachy Head.

Finally, after being left in awe by two biplanes practising acrobatics in the sky, we headed along the long meandering path towards Eastbourne.

The relief and overwhelm at arriving at the end of 100 miles, was 'epic' as Ben would say and my thoughts turned to the children who will benefit from Ben's Epic Christmas Boxes.

After the obligatory photograph as proof of our finishing the whole thing, we decided, perhaps ridiculously after 17 miles already, to walk to the train station.

At the end of the evening, we had walked almost 19 miles and with all of our extra strolls to pubs, tea rooms, houses and off / back to the Way. We have managed to tot up a grand total of 117.5 miles!! I think that is very worthy of a celebration. It was blessed relief to be picked up at Petersfield Station at 10.30 pm on Saturday by hubby and my girls. I hope Ben would also be pleased at our efforts, as I feel he has certainly been encouraging me with enthusiasm and gentle signs in nature, especially on our last day. The South Downs Way in all of her exquisite vastness and beauty has etched herself deep within my heart, a journey never to be forgotten, the reason behind it all, firmly inspiring me always; and my friendship with this amazing human being who agreed to do this with me, rightly planted in my memory forever. Home now for cuddles and a warm bath to soothe my aching bones!!

Thank you so much for your support ... please keep sharing and donating if you can, you are amazing and a couple of days later, my thoughts are already turning to ... 'What next?'



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Update posted by Ginny Walker On Sep 27, 2021

Our journey over to Southease was stunning. We simply had the best day with the weather again and started at the Jack and Jill Windmills at the edge of the South Downs Way and headed up onto the hills and into the sunlight and beautiful clear skies. We saw Dew ponds, tumuli, lots of different kinds of sheep and even went the wrong way for about a mile and a half, ending up at a farm, before heading back out onto the road and then again over to the South Downs Way! This caused us a few moments of exhausted laughter and painful, sore feet! Still, we continued to smile and natter, giggling along the way.

With the huge expanse of landscape, we could have spent many more hours slowing down to take many more photographs than we did, but the views were honestly breathtaking all day.

We had lunch at Cold Coombes, before continuing along, encountering a rider on their horse racing along at speed and the thundering of hooves along the ground could be felt as the horse flew majestically by! We discussed life purpose and the environment, among many other subjects, including whether or not it might be an idea to leave special places for walkers to pick up decent blister plasters along the way!

We made really good time, having set off about 7.30 am and once in Rodmell around 3.00 pm, headed over to Monks House (National Trust), the beautiful home of Virginia and Leonard Woolf. As someone who writes, I found this a most profound and inspirational way to spend a couple of hours, enjoying the history of the place, the impressive creativity and perhaps troubled mind of a writer, who, although I have heard about, have not really dipped into her work. Everything about her struck a chord and a sense of tenacity within me as I sat on a deckchair with my friend in their beautiful country garden that afternoon.

The last mile seemed to last forever, but we arrived at the Youth Hostel in Southease around 6.00 pm and were made to feel most welcome, with delicious food and a place to sleep. My friend and I nattered over dinner, watching the satellites and stars above and then headed back to our dorm and crashed out!


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Update posted by Ginny Walker On Sep 23, 2021

Well, today we learned management of blisters, the value of friendship and tenacity. It was a very good day. We started late, as there was a change over of bus driver from Midhurst, so although the journey started late, we ended up with a free bus ride, which was great AND the driver dropped us right at the South Downs Way!

Today, the inclines were long and sometimes steep and the downhills mercilessly similar. At one point, a blistered foot and painful hip threatened to disrupt our plans, but we pushed in through.

Arrival at the Lantern Cottage B&B in Keymer couldn’t come soon enough and then a 4 min walk to The Greyhound in for egg and chips against a back drop of Open Mic Night at The Greyhound was amazing!

So, to sleep and onward!





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Update posted by Ginny Walker On Sep 22, 2021

Well, what a beautiful day! It was magnificent and we enjoyed another day striding out in the sunshine.

At this point, there is no doubt that the blisters, aches and tiredness were starting to kick in today, coupled with the long undulations of the South Downs. Steep inclines and long drops today, hammering the knees and the chalk and flint below the feet gave way to huge discomfort in the last two miles. However, what is very telling about my friend’s and my nature, is that we are pretty tenacious and don’t tend to give up easily! So, as I finally settle down this eve, the backs of my legs are twinging and I hope that the Compeed plasters become worth their weight in gold!!

Last, but not least, it’s at this point that I note the incredible donations flying in … we have already hit £1,000 today, with 80 odd days to go, my heart is full and hopeful.

Thank you so much, amazing souls xx

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Update posted by Ginny Walker On Sep 20, 2021

Well,

We were so lucky with the weather again today and after only a couple of slight inclines, most of our walk today was along the ridge of the South Downs feeding close to little villages like Cocking, not far from Midhurst and back up into the hills again. Such beautiful scenery. We really kept a good pace up today and the good weather gave us a spring in our step. We left at 8.30 am and were in Graffham around 5.15 pm. We ended up walking just over 17 miles, which is what we need to do on our last day on Friday, so we're thrilled with that. Slightly tight muscles at the end of the day, but have stretched this evening and am hoping that the blister plasters will suffice tomorrow and allow me to keep going at a similar pace as today! Lovely to see the girls at the end of the day and hubby picked us up, which was so appreciated! And the Cafe Shop in Graffham serves the best tea and coffee!

Our descent into Graffham by the Seaford College was really quite steep, so that's our starting point tomorrow at the crack of dawn! Wish us luck!

Must also say a massive thank you for all your love and support for this fundraiser, it's blown me away and I really feel Ben would be so proud of everyone, knowing all the magic these gifts will bring so many children.

Thank you so much xxx

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Update posted by Ginny Walker On Sep 19, 2021

Had an earlier start today, dropped off by hubby; and my friend and I headed off on our adventures!


We were tired today, but we still giggled through drizzle and full on rain! The inclines, although not too steep, were long and we were glad to get to the top of Winchester Hill and later, to the Sustainability Centre where we enjoyed a lovely slab of cake and well-deserved beverage! Arrived home closer to 6.00 pm, but still with sense of humour intact!!

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Update posted by Ginny Walker On Sep 18, 2021

Thrilled to see the numbers going up as we set off this morning from Winchester. Took us a while to locate the actual correct route onto the South Downs Way (lots of walking and laughter!) Finally got going around 11.15 am and got to Exton about 5.30 pm. You are amazing! Thanks for all your support and for sharing this far and wide. Will add photos as well … a beautiful day, fabulous company and beautiful scenery! Sorry the photo’s gone up sideways!! xxx



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So happy to support this wonderful cause and in memory of Ben. Love to you all! ❤️

Caroline Hetherton

Backed with £30.00 On Nov 28, 2021

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❤️

Chiara Troiani

Backed On Nov 28, 2021 Amount Hidden

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Good luck, Ben!

Anne Boyere

Backed with £5.00 On Nov 27, 2021

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Peter G

Backed with £40.00 On Nov 26, 2021

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Claire Kennedy

Backed with £20.00 On Nov 25, 2021

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🤕 🎁🎈💝

Harry Hague

Backed with £40.00 On Nov 25, 2021

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Such a lovely thing to do. You and all your family are amazing x

Francesca Allen

Backed with £10.00 On Nov 25, 2021

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Naomi Johnson

Backed with £10.00 On Nov 25, 2021

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Becky Mckeown

Backed with £10.00 On Nov 23, 2021

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Ginny, you are an absolute inspiration. You really have opened my eyes on stem cell donation. Thank you 🤗xx

Becky Mckeown

Backed with £40.00 On Nov 23, 2021

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