LEJOG 2020,  Past Challenges

The Raising Post: Issue 6

In his recent publication ‘The Way under Foot’ authored by Graham Usher, Bishop of Norwich, he records an account given by a leading orthopaedic surgeon Charlie Docker on the mechanics of walking.

The thing is that gravity is continually pulling us down…

We have to lean slightly to one side. This lets us lift one leg off the floor using the muscles around our hip and it’s those muscles that swing the leg forward…a pendulum that carries us forward as we slightly lean forward. Having a good foot arch is important. It absorbs energy as we land and releases it as we push off. While the ankle is pushing backwards on the stationary foot, the other foot propels the body forwards until it comes into contact with the ground and the body’s weight moves forward onto it.

In order to walk, our feet rely on friction so that the foot that is not moving stays in place as the other foot moves forward. …repeat these instructions and you catch yourself from falling again and again and that’s walking.

Walking is interrupted falling!

But tell that to Tom Bagge whose forward motion was interrupted yesterday by an errant and protruding root.

Warning: not for the squeamish!

Nine days in and the Walkers are reaching the halfway point.. or at least most of us are. The PC Plodders, having started a day behind are making valiant efforts to maintain the pace. We are relying on them now to make sure that the Bikers, who start tomorrow (Sunday), obey all social distancing requirements and do not exceed speed limits.

Qua-Run-Team are also slightly off the pace but have been active in the ‘mid season transfer market’ and have secured the recruitment of one of the most formidable UK walking talents, Alexandra Bagge (Baggel) veteran of many pilgrimage routes in Europe, Japan and South America.

…She joins a number of other talented and conscientious team members: Tocky the team captain has been putting in a steady stream of 9 miler days. Louisa Pratt is doing walks morning noon and night whilst pinning down a full time job and then Will Richmond who is running into Whitehall from Putney pushing his two year old son Willoughby and the team have not even been counting Willoughby’s miles. Willoughby is considering an appeal and his mother is nursing his bruises!

We are in awe of the commitment of friends in Zimbabwe…

…who are not only submitting some impressive scores but are also treating us to some ‘moving’ (in more ways than one) clips of the wonderful beasts for whom they care.

It is a great cause and we have also heard from ZANE, an emergency fund providing relief to some of the most impoverished communities in Zim, and reminds us in these difficult times how important it is for us to remember those not so close to home.

More about ZANE

Rhinos and Young carers are an interesting but noble mix and let’s not forget the other charities teams and individuals in the Lockdown Challenge are supporting; The Samaritans and Cure Parkinson’s, neither of which need any introduction.

The Walky Talkies have finally made an appearance, emerging like meerkats blinking in the bright sunlight.

I understand Team Escargatoire have put an end to their leader’s early morning photographs delivered before their alarms have even thought of chiming. He remains indomitable and seemingly ‘indormitable’ as well!

Felbrigg Hall in Lockdown – by Michael G of Team Escargatoire

The two Biking teams, Two Cranks and a Chain led by Alec Armitage and the Petrifying Petries (unless they choose to give me another name) led by the lovely Lucy Petrie (nee Scott) are now heading to the start line at Land’s End. They leave tomorrow (Sunday 24th) and it remains to be seen if they can catch the Walkers accumulated daily mileage they can submit is 107.

Watch this space!

Finally, and thanks very much to your generosity. Walking4Norfolk has so far raised approaching £6,000 for Young Carers. This is hugely motivating and re-assuring for them for them knowing you are all out there ‘rooting’ for them.

The running total as of May 23

And so, while we are all enjoying ourselves in the amazing weather and enjoying the beauties of the world around us, wherever we may be, please pause for a moment and read what it is like to be a seventeen year old Young Carer in Lockdown……

Molly’s Story

Molly is 17, lives in West Norfolk, and cares for multiple members of her family who are shielding…

…including ones who do not live with her, so she has to balance her time between her house and other family members.

She cares for her dad who has various physical health issues including lung problems and a lack of circulation to his legs. She also helps to care for her grandad who is 88, has COPD and is unstable on his feet, and her uncle who has various physical health issues. Molly also has a brother who has a tic disorder so she has to help him if he has a tic attack.

She supports her mum with physical care for her dad, including helping to get him dressed, applying compression bandages, supporting with medication, making food, helping him with mobility and providing emotional support. Molly’s day starts at 4am where she gets up to make sure her dad has taken his first tablets of the day and getting him something to eat. Her uncle has a number of care workers going in each day to provide him with much-needed physical support, but Molly also assists if they are not around and provides emotional support – something which is particularly important at the moment because he hadn’t been able to get out of the house.

In addition to trying to balance her various caring responsibilities with keeping up with college work, Molly has been constantly worrying about the risk to her family if they were to catch Covid-19 because of their health conditions. One of the family members she cares for has recently been diagnosed with Covid-19 so Molly is feeling more scared now and doesn’t know what that will mean next for her and her family or if she might have already caught it because of how long she has been spending with him helping out and what will happen now they are having to self-isolate.

In addition, Molly’s caring role has increased because of her family members shielding and she feels she has had to take on more responsibilities to help out so is feeling increasingly tired.

Molly gets support from Caring Together as a member of Norfolk Young Carers Forum and so has been receiving regular telephone calls to check on how she is doing and taking part in virtual groups so she can keep in touch with other young carers in her area. She is also being linked in with Carers Matter Norfolk to help get her access to practical support such as shopping, something which is vital now that she is needing to self-isolate.”

Thank you to Andy McGowan for Molly’s story.

Swans on the Ouse

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