What a brilliant night it was!
It started on the train to London where I met a couple of the volunteers who were helping marshall the event plus another walker, Jane. As we were too early to actually be admitted to "Moonwalk City" on Clapham Common, Jane invited me to join her and the friends she was meeting up with, for supper at Nando's first. We then all travelled together on the tube arriving to this wonderous sight!
Jane and her friends let me, "Mrs Billy no-mates", hang around with them while we waited for it all to kick off. They even gave me a set of fairy lights to light up my assets! The amosphere was amazing, with thousands of people, men and women, all dressed up in their decorated bras and variety of accessories from feather boas to tutus, and all there for one cause. Many there were people who had battled breast cancer themselves, others were there walking to remember those who had lost that battle. The memory of the man who stood bravely on the stage wearing a bra to say he was doing this for his sister who had died just twelve weeks ago will stay with me for a long time. it wasn't sad... it was a joyous and uplifting evening.
Eventually by 11.30 pm my group of walkers were off. I was separated from Jane and friends by then but there was always someone to have a friendly chat to en route. A couple of miles in I was joined by my stepson James and his wife who live quite near the start. It was lovely to see them and walk a mile in their company. And the chocolate they brought was very much appreciated!
There was a bit of a bottle neck going underneath Westminster bridge but a chance to photograph the Houses of Parliment and Big Ben as it struck 1 am while we waited for the crowd to ease.
There is something magical about the city at night, especially walking along the river with all the twinkling lights. St Paul's Cathedral looked wonderful.
Tower bridge also looking beautiful all lit up too!
By about 2 am we were crossing Tower Bridge which was still full of traffic. I know New York is known as the city that never sleeps but London didn't seem to get quiet all night long either.
A close up as we walked around St Paul's...
And then around Westminster from the other side of the river just as Big Ben struck 3 am.
From there we made our way along to St. James Park, around Buckingham Palace to Hyde Park Corner and then along the Bayswater road all the way to South Kensington... those felt like long miles so it was very welcome when we started to hear the birds singing heralding the approach of the morning. Unfortunately it also welcomed some light drizzle but we were all equiped with plastic capes to keep the rain out. How wonderful it was to see we had walked 24 miles...
But also excrutiating to think we still had to pull another two miles out from somewhere! Shortly after this point James and Elizabeth appeared again (complete with flapjack this time!) and walked the final mile back to Clapham Common with me which once again, was very much appreciated. I crossed the finish line 8 hours and 15 minutes after starting out, which taking into account of the number of stops to cross roads, queue for the loo etc. wasn't too shabby. And despite feeling a little wobbly, a bit damp and very tired I felt fantastic too! Unfortunately I never did see Jane and her friends again so I hope they had a good walk. I think a special mention should be made of all the wonderful volunteers and marshals who not only kept us safe in the never ending London traffic but whose cheers and encouragement kept us going... even the chap who at the 7 mile mark shouted out that we still had miles to go yet! It made me smile.
I managed to stay awake on the way home (well, I might have dozed off a few times but I got off at the right stop!), I went straight to bed and slept for two hours before having a lovely hot bath and didn't feel too bad afterwards.Today I slept until 7.15 which is a lie-in for me and despite some blisters and feeling a little stiff (to be expected really) I'm fine. And would I do it all again... you bet! Although I can't help thinking there are other challenges and obstacles to be overcome that I haven't tried yet! What to do next I wonder?
I know I have given the link to my sponsorship page before but I'll do it one last time as the money raised goes to fund a variety of breast cancer charities ranging from research, treatment, equipment and services, all of which do vital work in battling this disease which will effect 1 in 8 women at some point in their lives, as well as a considerable number of men. And remember, check your breasts, have those mammograms and get walking! Because a daily walk is one of the best things you can do to stay fit and healthy! And if you can spare a couple of quid to sponsor me... then thank you very much!