I arrived at Blackpool bang on 3:30 after setting off from Formby Point at 12:08. The sea was rough and blowing a gale, but hey I was on the last leg and nothing was going to stop me now. As I approached the beach I could see my supporters lined up along the shore, family, some had come all the way from Huddersfield, friends, and even some people I didn’t know where all there to welcome me back. They were holding signs saying WELCOME HOME ERIC, which they then turned over and it read PADDLE FORREST PADDLE. What a great reception, I was flying high anyway, but the cheers and warm wishes and congratulations, sent my spirits soaring into space. Thanks everyone, it means more than I can say.
Had a couple of interviews, one with The Gazette, and one with BBC Look North, fancy that, and me not looking my best! Still who cares, if you didn’t already know it, I’m home! Yes!
Quick change on the Promenade, got some dry gear on, everyone helped bring the kayak up, we packed the car and shot off home, where honestly, talk about breaking records, I was showered and changed and out in the Lane Ends pub, in Wesham in less time than it’s just taken me to write this sentence. Everyone was there from the Beach, what a great atmosphere.
I was then presented with a cheque (wait ’til I tell you this) for £1000.00. This had been collected by the following Landlords, Landladies, and customers from the following Public Houses in Wisby, Bradford: The Market Tavern, Upper George, the White Swan, KUE Group Limited, Doosan Babcock staff and workforce at Drax Power Station, Selby, Deborah Services staff and workforce based at Drax Power Station and Deana & Annie of Lodge also based at Drax Power Station. I was just speechless, thank you everyone.
As they had a long journey back they had to leave before we set off to the next pub, but before they left, we took some photos (which I’ve put on the blog) and then, they whipped my collection bucket to take back with a promise to fill it and return it next Saturday at the party. I know I keep saying the same thing, but people are just great and without everyone’s support, I couldn’t have done this, and I certainly would not have raised the phenomenal amount that I have for Help for Heroes.
After a couple of hours, and several gallons of Guinness, we set off for the next pub, now, normally I would walk, but the mind was willing but the body was weak, so I was persuaded !?! to get a taxi down to the Swan Hotel in Kirkham. Again, everyone was great, very interested in what I’d done and why I did it, and forcing drinks on me, well I couldn’t refuse, could I!
After that it was off the Stable Bar, where we stayed until closing, well near enough, my legs were getting a bit wobbly so decided to call it a night. What a great time I had, and tomorrow I don’t have to worry about tide times, weather or anything, just relax. Thanks again everyone, I had the best time, I couldn’t have asked for a better welcome home.