Well the walk is still ongoing and I have now managed to walk 3,354,585 steps up to the 1st June which totals 1906 miles covered leaving 1,323 miles to go before reaching the 3229 miles which relates to the London to Qatar walk to the World Cup.
The interesting thing is I continue to be surprised by the number of people who have come forward to talk to me about their own mental health problems many who say they have never spoken to anybody before.
It has also been great to see people like Paul Merson and Joe Wickes on the TV talking about their own personal stories and I could relate to a number of things that they both discussed. I am certain that it will have helped people. I hope at some point in the future to be able to meet up with Paul Merson and put on a mental health event.
A number of organizations have been very helpful with their support with publicity and donations. Scott Mac-Cullum from the magazine Turf Matters carried out a zoom interview and then wrote an article within the publication but then made an outstanding offer to support SHOUT 85258 in the magazine . Radio Cambridgeshire also supported the walk with a couple of interviews. Cambridge United F.C have continued to support the walk and the recent update generated a few more donations.
I have to say a special thanks to Peter Houghton at the Football Safety Officers Association who has been so supportive over a 3 year period and earlier in the year invited me to talk at the FSOA conference about mental health and my journey. What I did not expect was for so many people at the conference to come forward over the next 48 hours to again talk about their mental health.
Peter kindly made donations of some top quality sporting memorabilia for future sporting dinners, a signed pair of Bruce Grobbelaar gloves, Matt Le Tissier signed Southampton shirt and a signed Mark Lawrenson shirt. Peter then asked club representatives attending to ask their clubs to donate memorabilia for SHOUT 85258. So far I have received a Chelsea F.C signed 2021-22 shirt a Portsmouth F.C signed shirt & ball and a Birmingham City signed shirt.
I always feel that there can be unusual opportunities that turn up in life when you least expect it and that was the case after I spoke at the conference in Strattford on Avon when a gentlemen called Andy Ashworth spoke to me. Andy had just been on holiday and read my book Life's A Pitch. Andy is a very well known presenter and he suggested that I should consider taking up after dinner speaking which at first I dismissed as a joke but later that evening Andy asked if I had thought about his suggestion, he went on to give me some advice. So as retirement approaches and I know I will require an income I have made the decision to take on the new challenge and have had several more discussions with Andy. Who would of thought talking about life changing mental health situations and writing a book could open a new door.
I would like to thank the latest group of people who have donated to the SHOUT 85258 walk during these very challenging times - post pandemic, the Ukraine war and of course the huge hike in the cost of living all of these challenges we all have to deal with at present.
John & Phyllis Mills
Football Safety Officers Association
Finally once this years football fixtures are confirmed I hope to organise another public walk as a number of people have asked if they could come along and support the challenge.
Thanks again to everybody who has donated over the past months I am very grateful to you all for the support.
Ian Darler B.E.M