SYBIL MARKS 80th WITH
A MARATHON CHARITY WALK.
PEMBROKESHIRE gran Sybil Edwards
celebrated her 80th birthday ... by going on marathon walk across
the county to raise funds for Cystic Fibrosis.
Sybil Edwards, who lives in
Trefin, has been involved in the Pembrokeshire branch
of the Cystic Fibrosis Trust for more than 30 years . She was, in
fact, instrumental in its formation and as her 80th birthday approached
she felt she should make use of the occasion to raise funds for the charity
which, with the families, has become an important part of her life.
An abseil was vetoed by her
doctor, she wasn’t selected to stand on the plinth in Trafalgar Square
and so the idea of a sponsored walk took hold. With her interest
in family history the plan developed into a reconstruction
of the walk made in 1791 by her late husband’s 4x great grandfather,
Henery Edwards . Henery, who lived in the Hayscastle/ Ryndaston area,
had heard rumours of plans for the construction of a new town on the Milford
haven and so, with high hopes of employment , he set out on his walk to
seek work in this exciting new project. The contract for the
carpentry work at the first building of the new town – now the Lord Nelson
Over four blissfully sunny
days in October Sybil followed in Henery’s footsteps covering between
20-25 miles on her journey from St Mary’s Church, Hayscastle to the Lord
Inspired by her efforts – Mum’s
Great Walk they call it - her family have joined in what has become
an Edwards affair with elder son Andrew in Southport embarking on an 80
mile cycle ride (even planning his route in the form of the figures 8 and
0). Daughter-in-law Julie and grandchildren Michael and Sarah
have each completed 80 lengths of the Southport Fitness Centre
swimming pool while younger son Chris, who has in past years raised
thousands of pounds for Cystic Fibrosis with marathons in New
York, London and Dublin, ran a half marathon on the route taken by his
Sybil and her family
are grateful for the generosity of their many sponsors and say that there
is still time for those who have yet to donate to make their contribution.
The economic recession has
made the past year a tough one financially for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust
yet it has been an exciting period with significant progress
in both gene therapy research and in improving clinical care
while the most welcome news is that average life expectancy for those
with Cystic Fibrosis has increased .
But too many young lives are
still lost to CF. There is still a long way to go to change this.
“The Trust needs the
strength and determination of its fund-raisers to weather the recession
.” says Chief Executive Rosie Barnes. “Our programme is demanding and challenging
but we are determined to succeed . The adults who have lived with CF for
many years. the teenagers who are railing against it and the very
young who cannot yet say the words Cystic Fibrosis are all depending on
To sponsor please contact Sybil
Edwards, Portland House, Trefin, Haverfordwest , SA62 5AX. Tel:01348 837147.
the walk is completed, you can still send sponsor money for this very worthy
Here is Sybil's blog of the walk
The Edwards team
Day 1. The starting
point: St Mary's Church Hayscastle
So. This is it.
Time to put behind me the qualms of
the last few days. My ‘agent’ ( son Andrew, group editor of goodness
knows how many papers in Merseyside) has worked well.The world
at large has been informed that “Pembrokeshire gran, 80 year old Sybil
Edwards” will do this walk. I’ve said so myself on Radio Pembrokeshire.
No way out now. I blame Dr. Prem.
He vetoed me doing an abseil, I wasn’t selected to celebrate my 80th birthday
by standing for an hour on the plinth in Trafalgar Square ( don’t
know that I’m too sorry about that - went to have a look -
seemed a long way off the ground). So – idea number 3 it was, walk from
Hayscastle to Milford as dear old Henery Edwards did in 1791,
permitted as long as I restricted myself to five miles a day with an alternate
Got up at 6.30 to be ready for off
Hope sometime holiday companion ‘travel
light Marion’ doesn’t get wind of the contents of my back pack
- rain gear (in case it rains). woolly hat ( in case it’s cold), energy
tablets (in case I flag), mobile ( in case I need to make an SOS call),
list of useful phone numbers (ditto), biscuits (in case I’m hungry),
bananas (ditto), water (in case I’m thirsty), pen (in case – well I never
go anywhere without a pen), sunglasses (in case it’s sunny), camera ( in
case I need to prove where I’ve been), cash (in case I go shopping)
and a lot of tissues (never you mind !)
Elizabeth and Lyn arrive
on time, car bedecked with banners and balloons and deliver me to
my starting point St Mary’s Church, Hayscastle. Lyn knows the way. I’m
having more qualms – am I sure of my route ? Day 1 is not the time to get
lost. Awaiting my arrival are the vicar the Revd. Michael Rowlands (Mick
the Vic) with CF members Phyllis and Ieuan Morgan and local residents Angie
and Mike Flude. Mike had provided me with local contacts . Very touched
that he and his wife turned up to see me on my way.
Short, very informal service in the
lovely little church where the Revd. Michael spoke of the work of volunteers
and asked a blessing on my endeavours.
Set off with the sun shining on me
and a yellow balloon ( attached to my backpack by Elizabeth) blowing in
Paused at Hayscastle Cross – don’t
miss an opportunity I thought. Knocked on the door of the Cross Inn ( still
well locked up at this time in the morning) asked head that appeared at
upstairs window if I might use loo. That, too, was well locked up it seems.
‘Sorry ‘ said head.. Hey ho – no room at the inn.
There was a hedge and gateway further
down the road - if you must know
Now a long stretch of nothingness –
a long steep hill. ‘Would I accept a lift if one was offered’ I pondered.
‘NO’ I told myself severely. But did opt for an energy tablet
and a drink of water ( 2 of my ‘in cases’ at a go.)
First stop Camrose
A sign post for Camrose
, my destination for the day was cheering . Pace quickened
- suddenly I’m on familiar ground and ahead of schedule Very much
ahead of schedule. Walked through the village and totally missed
seeing the bus stop where Community Council chairman Dillwyn Phillips
and Vice chair Tony Bevan were to welcome me. A phone call (mobile -
3rd ‘in case’) brought them hurrying from their labours. Photos taken (
camera 4th - ‘in case’)
Marion - 30 minutes early -
waiting to drive me home . No surprise. She had been paranoid about
missing me somewhere in the wilds of Camrose. A good friend
even if she does mock my packing arrangements!
|Back to Trefin - ‘real’ lemonade and
coffee at the Oriel y Felin Gallery. Customer did double take. He’d
just heard my recorded interview on Radio Pembrokeshire and there
I was in the flesh. Instant sponsorship.
Soaking in the bath (at home) was good
. Answered phone expecting a family chat. Conducted business
call for some minutes before revealing - I’ll rephrase
that - letting on - that I was not exactly at my desk. Splashing
Later - Feel fine.. Now know
I can do it. Both sons rang to check on progress.
Think they’re quite chuffed with their
Yes, well – maybe over-optimistic.
Legs are not happy. Don’t want to walk today. Stay in bed, they suggest.
Told them no choice. Problem not Day 1 walk but a ‘rest day’ that
did not rest legs. Faithful Elizabeth and Lyn arrive with fresh balloon
for my pack. Tony Bevan at Camrose to see me on my way. Dillwyn unavailable
- celebrating major wedding anniversary.
Legs still protesting but eased as
I walked . Turned out to be a highlight day. – sunshine,
jacket off ( in October), beautiful walk along sun dappled
tree-lined road -lots of scenery photos as happy memento.
Sat on a bridge to eat banana (5th ‘in case’) and drink
water. Motorist stopped ( on a bend) to sponsor. (pen ‘in case’
No.6 to fill in sponsor form) Legs forgotten they ached.
The route from Camrose was
I told you it was beautiful
|Ahead of schedule again. Sauntered
triumphantly down Crowhill and on along riverside to Town Council Offices
- starting point for Day 3. Identified on Old Bridge as ‘the lady I’m hearing
about on the radio’ and had hand shaken.. Somehow missed Phyllis,
a great supporter, who had set out to meet me en route. Was met at Morrisons
as arranged by Lyn and Elizabeth , CF members Brian and Yvonne Griffiths
– also by Marion - just turned up to ensure no hitch over transport
Coffee and two very naughty custard
tarts ( totally out of order on my gluten and dairy free diet) at Morrisons
(cash , 7th of the ‘in cases’)
Arrived in Haverfordwest
Camrose - COFFEE
Everything going so well and making
such good time I used rest day yesterday to drive along the
remainder of the route to reassess times and distances. . Decide
I can do it in four days , gain extra rest day before
the final lap to Milford..
This despite hazards of today’s
route from Haverfordwest to Tiers Cross. Bit tense though. Can’t complete
journey if squashed under lorry.
Fresh balloons to cheer me .
Delivered as usual by Elizabeth and Lyn. Received in Mayor’s Parlour,
Haverfordwest by Mayor Jim Campbell and Councillor Peter Lewis All
sign VIP visitor’s book (Queen signed it- but she wasn’t walking
) Presented with Haverfordwest scarf and Haverfordwest Town Council crest.
Handed gifts to Elizabeth for safe keeping. Like Queen I have ‘lady in
waiting’. Also looks after donations en route.
Time to leave Haverfordwest
- Mayor James Campbell and Councillor Peter Lewis accompany me to Merlins
|Set off for Merlin’s Bridge escorted
by Mayor and Councillor Peter. Stop at Western Telegraph to collect
photographer Robert. On to Garland Motorcycles. Motorcyclist
Robert (Nobby) Boswell awaits to act as outrider on horrible bends, Phyllis
there to give moral support , Elizabeth and Lyn to crawl
behind me. “Warning - Slow Down- Walker” signs (courtesy Beth
Robinson, Oriel Glan y Mor Gallery) affixed to car and bike. My own gaudy
attire and flying balloon a hazard alert ! Pose for press photographs.
Ready to face the hazards
of the Old Hakin Road with the protection of outrider motor cyclist Robert
(Nobby) Boswell, manager of Garlands Motorcycles and Elizabeth Yates and
Lyn Davies following behind.
|Deep breath. Calm down. In good hands.
Just walk. Got some waves from motorists (friendly). Lorry driver ignores
‘slow’ request. Drag from draught of close contact scary. “Nobby” stops
traffic completely as I negotiate worst bend under bridge . Escorts
did great job. Andrew rings – happy that mother will still be available
for holiday accommodation.. Hazard dealt with – hill/ hills
take over. Long slow slog . Blaring horn and blown kisses indicates
Marion on way to pick-up point.. Reach Tiers Cross sign –Marion patiently
sitting reading. Not quite my stopping point (Welcome Traveller a
bit further on) but a welcome sight.
Pose for exultation photos.
‘Hop in’ says M. opening car door. Retreat in horror . Can’t
be seen arriving by car . Plough on. Hopes of coffee at pub.
Locked and deserted. Again ‘no room at the inn.’ Eat banana in car . Approached
by young man -hopes raised - landlord ready to
open up for weary walker? – eager sponsor ? No - wanted advice on
organising sponsorship for charity walk - a different charity
Had to slow down here.......!
Praise be! I've reached
Tiers Cross! What hills! Oh my calf muscles!!!!
Head for home. Stop at Nant y Coy in
Treffgarne for great reviving coffee and biscuits, sitting outside in sun.
And so HOME. A tiring day but a couple of rest days ahead.
Fit enough to go to Historical Society meeting in St Davids this evening.
– didn’t want to miss Dr Middleton talking about Local Doctors .
Worth the effort.
Gentle exercise to keep muscles
working. Fair bit of checking and double checking to do. Want everything
to go to plan on last day. Call from Radio Pembrokeshire - to do
recorded interview with Ben Skone . Didn’t manage to hear it but believe
I got over the things I wanted to say - thanks to the people who’ve helped
, my admiration for the young CF patients who are determined to live
their lives to the full - the
dedicated parents. Mentioned the part
played by my own family in this 80th birthday fund raising - Chris
doing a half-marathon, Andrew’s 80 mile cycle ride with daughter-in
law Julie and grandchildren Michael and Sarah each swimming 80 lengths.
And Andrew’s gift to me - a 15 minute flying lesson. “Wow”!
“Wow” say I !
Dropped off at Tiers Cross.
Vehicle( adorned with usual banners and balloons) mistaken for hospital
car . Situation explained and sponsor money then forthcoming. A busy
road, a few waves but mostly high speed vehicles and lorries whizzing
past too close for comfort. Not a scenic route.
Murco Refinery came into view .
What would Henery have made of it ? Maybe sought a job there.
My thoughts with him quite a bit as I near the end of his – and my-
journey. Brave man. I know what’s at the end of my trek - a
greeting by friends- the comfort of an inn where there will be room
- transport home .
The final step of my journey
The first view of the sea
- Henery must have rejoiced
|Ponder this and his legacy to successive
Henrys as I get first sight of the sea. This must surely have put a spring
in Henery’s step.
Reach Hubberston with time to spare.
Branch off in search of civilised loo. Success at Hubberston
Education Centre. Was asked if I’m ”the old lady doing the walk”
Suppose I am . Sponsorship followed. Still in comfortable time
for 11.30 reception at Hakin Bridge . Pause to take photo at top
of St Lawrence Hill – camera missing. Panic ! All my precious
pictures ! Consult list of useful phone numbers (8th of my ‘in cases’),
no reply from any. Hope I put camera down in Education Centre. Retrace
my steps at speed. Success. More speed – gallop down hill.
Reception group and Robert the photographer await Wonderful
sight - and I’m only two minutes late.
|Nice little congratulatory
speech from deputy Mayor Eric Harries. Interesting that it is just
100 years since a procession marched over the bridge to celebrate the freeing
of tolls. Eric and I lead a procession celebrating the
work of the Cystic Fibrosis Trust.
At the Lord Nelson Hotel, the Inn where
just over 200 years ago Henery Edwards carried out the carpentry
work, I take the final step of my journey.
Coffee and cake - and then lunch
PS Marion take note
- I used all my ‘in case ‘ items except raincoat and woolly hat
tomorrow- at least there has been so far.
on turning 80 this year.)
Am I on the right walk?
- Henery didn't say anything about this
Haverfordwest Town Council
and Silk scarf presented
by Mayor Jim Campbell
||Chris Edwards enjoys a refreshing drink as he completes his half marathon