London to Brighton…
RoadTrip, Bike Ride… Walk!
On Saturday 25th May 2019, Victoria Buckle set out on her trip to Brighton for the weekend. Sounds delightful, right? We all love a weekend in the beautiful seaside town, a stroll along the pier, a wander through the lanes. It’s the perfect weekend away!
There’s just one difference… Victoria didn’t hop on the 9.52 train from Victoria/Blackfriars or jump in the car and cruise along the A23….. she walked! Yes that’s right! 28 hours non–stop!
Sure, she could have got there by train or car in less than an hour, but Victoria set herself this eye-watering challenge to raise funds and awareness for an incredible charity…. North London Cares.
The London based charity aims to bring young people and older people together to reduce loneliness and isolation for both generations. “London is amazing”, says Victoria, “but we are always running around, heads down, earphones in and not talking to each other.” “The young people we work with have told us that “it’s so hard to make friends, particularly if you’re new to the city.””
For the older generation, we have all read the shocking findings of charities such as elderly people can go two weeks without speaking to anybody, but North London Cares has actually been out on the streets, knocking on doors and meeting the very people whom this affects. Victoria says “it’s just awful that this is the case and that 2 in 5 older people across the country say that TV is their main form of company.” “No older person should feel alone particularly when there are so many people out there who they could make friends with so they don’t feel isolated and forgotten anymore.”
It is literally a case of bringing people together which is where North London Cares comes in! They match older and younger neighbours together to meet every week for a cuppa, a chat and a slice of cake which is how Victoria and Irene met two years ago.
Since then, Victoria has popped round to Irene’s on a weekly basis for a cup of tea and a bit of a gossip. It’s made all the difference to Irene who is now house-bound due to her deteriorating health and whose family don’t live in London. A lot of her friends have also passed away and so, before meeting Victoria, she could go weeks without seeing anyone other than her carers. It’s been great for Victoria too who was new to London in 2017 and didn’t know anyone in her immediate community. Other than their regular meet ups they have celebrated Christmas together with Victoria’s homemade mince pies, Easter and are looking forward to their celebratory Fish and Chips in two weeks time for Irene’s 95th birthday!
North London Cares has helped make hundreds of friendships possible. They’ve been told that their work is a “lifeline” and helps people feel connected to their community again.
That’s why Victoria set herself a challenge to raise as much money as possible to help make more friendships possible, just like hers and Irene’s.
She said “I didn’t want to just do any old challenge, I wanted something that would push me to the limit and something which had a connection to London.”
She began training earlier this year with 5 miles, 10 miles and so on, building up to her training walk of two 25km walks (one on Saturday and one on a Sunday) from the Dartford Crossing to Hampton Court – ( I don’t know about you, but I’m sat here struggling to imagine walking such a distance).
Whilst the training really helped, nothing could prepare her for going “the whole hog” on the day itself. At times, it was really tough she said, “especially at night walking through the woods of the South Downs with only a head torch for light – it was actually really scary.” Some of the others had to stop along the way as they had too many blisters and some even lost toenails which just meant it was impossible to continue.
“The hardest part was probably at 90km when we were all exhausted and a steep hill stood between us and the final stretch to the finish line.” “I thought just keep going, do it for all the Irene’s out there – plus someone was playing “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” on a portable speaker, which definitely helped!” Just before 1.00pm, 28 hours after leaving London, Victoria crossed the finish line! She was so proud that she’d made it and Irene was “gobsmacked” when she heard the news!
After the walk, and a celebratory glass of prosecco, Victoria said “everything hurt, my toes, calves, thighs everything! I always take a long bath to ease my muscles after any intense work out so literally could not wait to get home that afternoon. I love Epsom Salt and used Newton Wood Epsom Salt crystals that night for a bath and to soak my feet. The following day, I could not believe the difference. It’s the quickest my muscles have ever recovered! The foot soak particularly helped as I had some quite painful blisters on my feet and it really worked to soothe them.” She said “in fact I loved the Newton Wood Epsom Salts so much that I actually put it as one of my top tips on Instagram for recovery after intense training sessions, walks or runs- I will definitely be using them again in future.”
We’re so pleased that our salts helped Victoria to recover from this amazing challenge and we are so proud to have supported her!
We have no doubt that she will continue with her amazing work and we look forward to hearing of the next challenge she sets herself. In the meantime, it is not too late to support her, just head to her just giving page: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiserdisplay/showROFundraiserPage?userUrl=victoriabuckle1&pageUrl=3
To hear more from Victoria about her recovery tips and how our Epsom Salt crystals aided her recovery, check out her video below:
Well done Victoria and Happy 95th Birthday to Irene
From all of us at Newton Wood!