Day 15

Today I heard that a storage centre fire has destroyed absolutely everything I own. 53 years up in smoke. I’m numb. I only stored my possessions there so they would be safe whilst I was away travelling.

I was sitting in Starbucks in Richmond, Surrey when friends from Spain called to pass on the devastating news. I think I was in some sort of daze because I now realise I must have sat there for over an hour without making a call, checking my tablet or doing much other than look out the window!

Yes, I am quite numb and every few minutes I remember more things that were in the storage centre. I put literally every single thing I owned in there as I did not want to leave it in the house in case of burglary whilst I cycled my multi-marathons. Ironic, really!

So the robbers didn’t get it but the flames did! I have seen the fire on YouTube and apparently it took 3 hours for the fire officers to get it under control. Fortunately nobody died or was injured.

So it’s cleaning head day and tomorrow I will start completing the insurance claim. How the heck can you remember in just a few hours every single thing you have collected in 53 year? How many shirts/suits, how many Spanish, Swedish courses, how many books and dictionaries(100s!), how many football/rugby programmes (thousands!), how many USB cables, keyboards, towers, screens etc?

Yes, after 53 years I am starting from scratch. I looked round the contents of two panniers and realised that these were my entire worldy belongings. Scary.

Anyway, I have a busy week ahead with Birmingham, Villa, WBA, Wolves, Walsall, Stoke, Port Vale and perhaps a few more to squeeze in.

Can I visit you?

I’ll bounce back.

Talking about bouncing back, I was delighted to see that my local newspaper, Round Town News started the first of their regular features about me. They intend to follow me around for the next four months and I appreciate their support.

It’s sad that this event spoiled what had been a great day which started VERY early in S.E.London. There are always grounds you have a “feel” for and Charlton’s “The Valley” has always been special for me. I have seen some great games there and the Charlton fans have treated me well. Charlton has a real “community” feel about it and their fans are real supporters who have a reputation of getting behind their team and management. After several seasons where they punched above their weight, I am afraid that they are back in league one for at least one more season after the misery of a play-off defeat. One man who gave many years of loyal service to Charlton was Sam Bartram whose statue is to be found outside the main offices at The Valley. A great keeper, sportsman and a true Charlton Legend.

That’s 8 grounds down, 84 to go. The tempo picks up this week and I expect to visit at least another 10.

From there it was on to Richmond where I was warmly welcomed by Nick Taimitarha from thebestofrichmond who sent this professional report. I see no reason to change anything. Thanks Nick. A SUPERB day until ….

thebestofrichmond was delighted to welcome Steve Hall to Richmond borough on a bright sunny June day to help him create new connections in the local business community and support The Shirt 2010 in order to help raise awareness of the plight of the world’s 45 million refugees.

We started our journey at the Richmond Hill Hotel who very kindly provided Steve’s accommodation. Situated at the top of Richmond Hill, it was the perfect starting point as we took in the renowned ‘view’ from the hill overlooking the river – a view that’s protected by an Act of Parliament.

We then proceeded down the hill to visit the Regus Offices, before popping in to the Richmond Visitors Information Centre, where Steve was presented with a Richmond shirt and Love Richmond eco bag thanks to a call from Richmond Council’s proactive Tourism & Marketing Manager Angela Ivey.

Steve and I crossed the river to the Twickenham side of the borough, stopping off in Twickenham’s picturesque Church Street to meet with Bruce from Crusader Travel. Steve had a go at ‘street chess’ as Bruce explained about his new venture ‘Destination Richmond’ which helps visitors to the area discover new things to do. After Bruce heard about Steve’s endeavours, he offered to put up for auction a great outdoors activity break – a weekend’s Camping Skiff Hire for 3 people. Watch this space!

We then met the delightful duo Lorraine and Carina at Harlequins at the Twickenham Stoop. You’ll find a great atmosphere, modern facilities, luxurious hospitality and long, fully-stocked bars there.
On our way to our last appointment, we checked out the impressive new statue at Twickenham Stadium – a gigantic bronze of five rugby players. You can just about make out Steve in the photo!


The day was rounded off in the company of independent cycle shop Moore’s Cycles, where Leon and Nicola showed us the latest electric bikes, as well as their huge selection of bicycles and accessories. Steve explained about his mission to cycle to all the 92 football league grounds in England and Wales to collect shirts for The Big Shirt. Moore’s Cycles offered to support Steve by generously kitting him out in proper cycling gear for the arduous trip.Moore’s have been serving cyclists in South West London since 1948, supplying high quality bikes for all the family – they’re one of those rare, independent shops that really go the extra mile to provide old fashioned customer service, whilst being at the cutting edge when it comes to products.


All in all, we had a fabulous day meeting some of the many business members that make up what is thebestofrichmond. Whatever your need a local business providing a solution can be found at thebestofrichmond and as each business is recommended by other locals, you can feel confident that they are truly one of the best at what they do. As Steve left Richmond, he left behind warm memories and a raft of well wishers amongst Richmond’s business community. We wish him the very best on his epic journey!

Steve Hall visited Richmond and Twickenham on 3rd June2010 which was Day 15 of his tour around England and Wales for The Shirt 2010 project. For more information visit www.theshirt2010.co.uk

Steve’s guide for the day was Nick Taimitarha of thebestofrichmond which promotes local events and recommended businesses in the borough of Richmond upon Thames. The website is www.thebestof.co.uk/richmond

Thanks to Nick for the superb day and the excellent report.
Anyway, things had been going well this week and then Mother Nature showed you just how much she is in charge. (….or was it fate/destiny/revenge?)

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