London to Qatar walk 3228 Miles
The final steps of the London to Qatar challenge for Shout 85258, with club Directors Godric Smith,Graham Daniels and finance Director of Mick George, Police spotters all supporting the walk along with Nia Thomas from Shout 85258 and several supporters took place on Saturday 19th November.
I believe the walk has been one of the most positive things I have ever undertaken and rewarding in the fact there has hardly been a day go by without somebody talking to me about their mental health.
I must also thank all the companies and members of the public who have supported and donated to the walk during the past twelve months. The 16k raised for SHOUT 85258 will help so many people in the coming months.
So this is the end of a very long journey 6,068,796 steps completed and we celebrate on the pitch before the Accrington Stanley fixture.
When I look back at the Football Safety Officers conference in Stratford where I was one of the guest speakers talking about mental health and the positivity it generated with members coming forward to talk about their mental health concerns it really has been a positive journey.
The final message
The final message is keep talking and if you feel that a member of your family may be struggling a member of staff, or a friend then ask “are you okay?” if they reply “yes” ask them again “are you sure you are okay?”
You may be surprised by the answer and just talking could be the help that person needs???
If you are struggling personally don’t suffer in silence, tell somebody as there is help available or text SHOUT 85258
Ian Darler B.E.M
Skechers saved the day
As I approach the final few thousand yards of my London to Qatar 3228 mile walk I thought I would reflect on parts of my journey.
I had only covered 1.250million yards of my 6 million yard journey when I received a plantar fasciitis foot injury . I was at home and wondering if I could continue the walk when that evening an advert with Jamie Redknapp came on a TV showing the Skechers training shoes so I instantly went on line at M&M direct to purchase some skechers in the hope they would help my injury and allow me to continue the walk.
The shoes have been incredible and protected my foot and to be honest were so comfortable it was like i was floating on air and now on my 4th pair.
The London to Qatar walk concludes on Saturday 19th November when I walk from Parkers Piece in Cambridge leaving at 2pm to the Cambridge United Abbey stadium and has now attracted a large amount of media and TV interest.
What Skechers did for me walking in excess of 6 million yards was amazing and I thought I would add it to the walk diary in the hope it may help others suffering from a similar injury. It has been a challenge but made easier by the comfort of the shoes.
I must start by say a special thanks to those who attended the public walk on Sunday especially when the weather was so awful. The walk was made up from members of the Cambridge staff and club supporters.
Trevor George the former Cambridge United police intelligence officer led walk whilst also delivering a history lesson on route.
Above The group ready to attack the 3.9 mile stroll along the river Cam
Below The group gathered for a photo at the half way point
I must also thank the Cambridge United media team for putting the interview with Thomas Kirk match referee on twitter as this again has generated so much positivity and conversation about mental health.
As we approach the last 19 days of the challenge, we have hit 5,800,276 steps up to 31st October leaving just 199,724 steps to hit the six million and completing the 3228-mile walk.
Thanks also to those who have again sponsored the walk and taken the total to £14.500
Finally, a reminder that Cambridge United have arranged for me to walk from the football monument on Parkers Piece to the Abbey stadium on Saturday 19th November, The walk will start at 2pm and we should arrive at the stadium by 2.45pm everybody is welcome to come along.
Thanks again, keep talking everybody.
Ian Darler B.E.M
We are undertaking a public walk on Sunday 30th October meeting at 9.30am in Cambridge United FC rear car park behind the main stand and departing from the stadium at 10am for a short 3 mile stroll everybody is welcome to come along.
Above left photo
Match referee Thomas Kirk very kindly put in a few steps with me on Saturday before the Cambridge United v Portvale fixture. The match officials have been very supportive during my charity walk and Thomas was brilliant and very supportive.
Above right photo
Fulhams deputy head groundsman Stuart Mackley joined me at the Port Vale fixture to put a few more steps on the total steps taken for my London to Qatar walk.
This month has seen me re-visit some of the local villages to keep the step total ticking over.
We also paid a visit to Southwold and walked along the coast line on what was possibly the last hot weekend of the year.
The walk has continued to create discussion around mental health with more people coming forward to talk about their personal mental health which is very rewarding that people have the confidence to talk.
Steps covered in September 490,074 which now takes the total steps covered to 5,298,733
This month I was invited to attend the Cambridge United Community Trust awards evening at Madingley Hall and present the mental health award. Whilst on stage Graham Daniels asked about the Million step challenge that I undertook last year and asked why I did the challenge. My light hearted reply was that it was the warm up for the London to Qatar walk? It gave me the opportunity to talk about parts of my mental health journey and how it has helped people speak about their mental health concerns. Again later that evening I was surprised to have people come forward firstly to say that my talk had been brave, to which I replied “not brave just honest”. I also had two other people at the event come forward and talk to me about their mental health journey.
I do believe people are changing their views about mental health and becoming more confident in talking about mental health although we all know there is a long way to go.
SHOUT 85258 continue to help so many people of all ages and I know every penny that the walk has raised goes towards helping people dealing with life’s challenges.
I have been reading The Daily Telegraph article about the Molly Russell inquest into her death and the work her father Ian Russell and family have done to help prevent other families having to go through this awful situation.
Yet again following my rant in my August diary about so much negativity in the news I find myself being drawn in to reading about the awful things that Molly had access to which should never be available in any form to any age. Let me assure you that when things get so tough in life and people think about taking their life the last thing they need is instruction on line on how to do it and negativity.
Having a daughter of 14 I totally get the pressure children are now under with so much being put on them in so many directions and with the pressures of social media and having to achieve such constant high standards at school the pressure to undertake all home work by a set time they do not get the opportunity to have proper family time or have time for leisure activities that I and my older son was fortunate to have years ago. Surely at some point the government and education authorities need to look at why so many young children are struggling with mental health and why so many teachers are leaving the profession.
Yes I understand children have to undertake homework but why not give children homework Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday evenings which then allows them to have a chill period over the weekend for family time and their leisure activity. I have always worked long hours myself but on my weekends off I like to chill and more importantly I like to spend good quality time with my family but know that cannot always happen due to the amount of home work issued from the school for the weekend.
IS IT ANY SURPRISE THAT CHILDREN ARE SUFFERING WITH STRESS?
I don’t normally do this but I have taken some of the statements from the Ian Russell Interview.
The paper’s heading
It’s not what the Government says that matters-it’s what it does.
Molly’s beautiful image appeared in news reports around the world, yet for Ian, his wife and Molly’s two sisters there was simply “relief” that their feelings about her cause of death had been formally recognised.
The newspaper asked Ian Russell what Molly would have made of her story reaching so far. His reply was Molly was one of the most caring people he ever met. I only knew her for 14 years but in that time it was apparent she loved helping people and she was also really thoughtful. She would watch a situation, she would analyse it and she would make her own mind up about it. Those two sides of her personality would combine to make her feel really proud that these topics are being talked about now.”
The paper stated that with Russell, it is no exaggeration to say, had managed to change the debate around child safety online through years of tireless campaigning that has won him admirers including the Prince of Wales.
As a parent I am personally horrified that children are so unprotected when they are online at the current time and to read about the legal but harmful content that Molly saw that was most dangerous, Ian Russell said he thought that was what sapped her joy and her energy and positivity. Many of such posts were provided to the inquest into Molly’s death and were mainly made up of depressing quotes designed to heighten isolation and hopelessness.
I think the bravery that Molly’s family have shown is incredible and hope all their work in setting up the Molly Rose Foundation will help other youngsters finding life a challenge.
It really is time for Government to insist social media platforms control what they allow on their sites and to appreciate what negative posts can have on so many people of all ages.
Ian Darler B.E.M
The Shout 85258 London to Qatar Walk Continues August 2022
The walk really has been a long, hard challenge and this month I knew would be difficult to keep up the pace as we had our family holiday to North Devon and as I have learnt over recent years family time is so important and sitting on the beach is part of that family time. Eating pasties & scones doesn’t inspire you to go for a long walk, although I did still manage to get a good few steps on the counter.
I have now covered 2723 miles which relates to 4,808,659 steps leaving 496 miles still to cover before the 21st November.
The funds have continued to rise slowly which is incredible really when looking at what has been happening around the world and the situation with increased fuel and food costs.
Walking in North Devon
People who know me are aware I am always an early bird who is up most days before 6am and often in work around 7am so I seldom see the national news. However as mentioned I was on holiday this month and watched the BBC morning news for a few days and have to say that I was appalled by its content.
For the first time in my life I realised why the saying
“NO NEWS IS GOOD NEWS” was so important.
Now I don’t blame the news presenters for this but as a message to the producers of the programme just take a look at what you put out as news and how you deliver it. Let me tell you that from my own previous experience of having suffered with depression and PTSD the constant repeated bad news that you broadcast will affect thousands of people who may already be finding life very challenging, be it through health or financial concerns, and yes I understand news has to be broadcast but not the same intense stories again and again and again.
In just three days we had to listen to the Heat or Eat story again and again, fuel price increases, the post office strike, the train Strike, the Ukraine war, global warming issues with flooding and, the awful murder of Olivia Pratt-Korbel. Not one positive story and to be honest it was a treat to listen to the weather to have a break from the news!
The following morning at breakfast I decided to watch Good Morning Britain news channel and yes they broadcast the same news stories but it was delivered in a much more sympathetic, considerate and less intense manner with other light hearted stories in between the hard hitting news.
I feel very fortunate to have received such fantastic treatment from the NHS at my time of need following a serious accident. The treatment I received taught me how to deal with life’s challenges but for anybody finding life challenging who has not been offered support I can really sympathise with them as I could honestly see the news broadcast dragging them down further.
There are so many positive things happening in the world but they don’t get a mention, WHY?
A message to the programme producers -
IT IS TIME TO TAKE A LOOK AT WHAT AND HOW YOU DELIVER THE NEWS IN THE BROADCAST AND THE EFFECT IT HAS ON SO MANY PEOPLE
Think about the impact of your delivery and the effect it has on people, why not have a change of view and make people feel better about the news stories. Negativity is never a good thing, is it really that difficult to find stories with a positive outcome to supplement the hard hitting news. Good cop bad cop?
Just take a look at how Anthony McPartlin & Declan Donnelly give the nation a lift and that feel good factor with their Saturday night take-away show. Just imagine what they would do if they ever launched their own news programme, you can bet your life it would not be negative.
Steph McGovern’s packed lunch programme also shows you can discuss serious matters but deliver the topic in an acceptable way that does not drag you down and is surrounded by light-hearted features.
Sorry about my comments above but as you can probably tell I could feel the impact the news could have on so many people trying to deal with daily challenges.
I will close this month’s diary by saying “thanks” to Martin Blunt and Tony Kvedaras for their donations which has taken the funds raised for Shout to £14,100.00
Ian Darler B.E.M
July has been one of the most challenging months yet with temperatures in the high 30's but I know the money raised from the walk will help people of all agaes who are struggling with their mental health.
The challenge is still on track to achieve hitting the distance equivalent of the distance from London to Qatar before the first game of the world cup.
I have now covered 4,461,920 steps up to the 4th August 2022
Thanks again to everybody who has supported the walk so far with donations..
Please continue to spread the word and lets hope the donations pick up again.
Ian Darler B.E.M
This years football close season has been the busiest I have experienced in over 40 years, From the day after the last game of the season we have had contractors on site in so many different areas of the stadium. Involving the removal o the Abbey Arms that was first brought on site by Reg Smart as a gym for John Beck, The replacement units are on site but we still have work to complete.
The Dublin suite kitchen has been gutted and fully refurbished and all new equipment installed, Tea bar one at the rear of the main stand has also been gutted and all new equipment installed.
The Signature suite has also seen some changes and a complete re-design has taken place in what was the executive lounge. The match day reception area has also been replaced making it more welcoming.
A children's play area has been installed outside the club shop and a number of areas in the stadium including the mobility area at the North end have been resurfaced, all this on top o what is my busiest time o the year with all the annual certification work or the local authority.
But there is generally a positive that comes out of most situations ? My positive is that there have been days I have walked in excess of 30.000 steps a day which has been a massive help towards my walk to Qatar.
I have now covered 3,983,184 steps which leaves me 1,254,576 steps to complete my journey before the world cup kicks off.
Thanks again to everyone who has donated over the months and to the most recent donation of £250 from Les Holloway who lives in Spain .
The walk has now raised £13,700 which will be a great help to SHOUT 85258.
Please continue to spread the word and lets hope the donations pick up again.
Ian Darler B.E.M
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