The last 10 days have been a bit of a whirlwind for so many reasons.
I think it’s fair to say ‘my adventure’ continues and I’m embracing and learning from every moment of it.
Since my last blog so much has happened, such as purchasing a van that will become my ‘Glamp-mobile’, we’ve got more bookings and lot’s of interest in our holidays (phew!), forming some great partnerships with Norfolk business’s all along the Norfolk Coast Path (some that have the potential to offer quite unique packages to our guests) and much more.
But the last week has really been a chance to reflect on my MarGins adventure and the realisation of where we’ve managed to get to in such a short period of time.
Last Monday (13 February) I was contacted by The British Heart Foundation (BHF) to see if there was anything MarGins could do to support a guy called Kieran Sandwell who has taken on the challenge of walking the 5000 miles of the UK Coast in a year, following a heart transplant 7 years ago, raising vital funds for research for the BHF.
My instant reaction was “Yes, of course, what would you like us to do?” and the answer came back as “he’s got his accommodation sorted but anything else you can do to help publicise it in Norfolk would be most appreciated”.
Initially, I have to admit, I did wonder what I could possibly do to help in such a short space of time as Kieran was already walking through Suffolk and would be in Norfolk on Friday!
So what did I do first? Hit Social Media! I’m building up contacts from all around the Norfolk Coast, so what better way of asking for support is there? And then, most importantly, I would speak to Kieran to ask him what sort of support he needed.
I’m going to try to summarise the 4 days I spent with Kieran because if I write about it all, this will end up being a very long blog!
The first time I spoke to Kieran on his mobile phone I instantly knew he was one of those people who comes into your life albeit for a short period of time, leaving a lasting legacy. He was in unbelievably high spirits considering a big set back where his phones (his only form of contact) had ended up in sea water (long story but you can read about it on his website) and he’d had to buy 2 new phones whilst trying to complete his day of walking.
We agreed the main way I could support him was by transporting his heavy rucksack throughout most of his walk around the Norfolk Coast and I would accompany him on his walk when I could.
But we couldn’t stop there could we? Through contacting friends and family and through the Social Media platforms, Kieran’s Norfolk experience will hopefully be a memorable one. Friends and family rallied round to organise a very enjoyable fundraising quiz in Happisburgh, then after his walk on Sunday he was officially welcomed to Cromer by the Deputy Major, District and County Councillors, Walkers are Welcome Cromer and the general public on Cromer Pier and Burnham Deepdale Hostel kindly donated Kieran a room. As his profile grew he had various radio interviews, articles in the local papers and finally was interviewed for Anglia TV.
To top it all off, we had the privilege of Kieran staying with us for 2 nights, giving us the opportunity to get to know this inspirational person.
Since saying our sad farewells on Tuesday I’ve been reflecting on the last week’s activities. For the past 18 years my career and life has involved enabling people to help themselves through working and volunteering for various humanitarian agencies and charities. Usually in the immediate aftermath of a crisis both on a individual and community basis in the UK and overseas. It never occurred to me when we set up MarGins Walking and Glamping Holidays that this had the potential to be an extension of this.
What we were able to offer Kieran in the end, was practical and emotional support throughout his time in Norfolk. A Trail of Two Hearts is Kieran’s adventure but with our knowledge and the service we offer, we were able to provide the support he needed to make his experience in Norfolk as hassle-free and enjoyable as possible.
What did we get in return? A friend 🙂