Mike Cooper reports that £2,750 has been collected to date with more donations expected. £2,218 paid to Help for Heroes and £530 paid to Sports Aid to assist injured servicemen compete in the Paralympics. He is hoping to bring the total raised to over £3,000.
The most beautiful stage of the walk was from Lacock to Lyneham although the sight of a Hercules on a repatriation flight at lunchtime on the Friday with 2 young soldiers left an unforgettable impression. The flightpath of these repatriation flights are recognised by the locals to be unique; low and slow. Followed 3 hours later by the drive through Wooton Bassett where the locals are going about there normal business when a single bell starts tolling and everyone – everyone stops to pay respect as the mourning procession drive past. A truly humbling experience.
On the Grand National Saturday he was interviewed again on BBC radio when the presenter mentioned his tip for the National – Comply or Die – before introducing him. Michael naturally mentioned that this horse’s stables are close to where the walk had started in Devon and there was a discussion about its chances.
He was joined on the final walk into Malmesbury by Rev Richard Maslen, from Malmesbury, who had a parish down at Tatworth outside Chard before retiring back to the Malmesbury area and Major Haydn Pritchard of the 9RLC regiment.
A group of old friends and family together with the Mayor, members of 9RLC Regiment and members of the Athelstan Players met at Malmesbury Abbey to honour his father, Roy Cooper, who has a memorial plaque in the Cloister Gardens, before retiring to the Mayor’s parlour for tea and cakes. All in all a most wonderful experience where one realises how lucky we are to live in this country and with its generous people.