Photographs: Kate Pain
‘OK, let’s get down and dirty, then.’ The decision was made. We’d do the military assault course Mud Challenge at www.actiondaysout.co.uk to round off charity Words for the Wounded’s 2015 fundraising activities.
We? Margaret Graham, Jan Speedie and Penny Deacon, are the grannies who run Words for the Wounded. We choose to conduct strategy meetings at The Wellington on the Strand, and decisions seem so easy over the second glass of wine. ‘Yes, there’ll be a bit of mud. Yes, we’ll get the families involved. Yes, it’ll be a bit of fun – and easy peasy.’
Easy peasy? For goodness sake.
On the whole our charity, Words for the Wounded, raises funds by offering opportunities to readers and writers: the annual Independent Author Book Award, the LitFest Day. But we also like to do something different. Last year was the sky dive, this year MUD.
With our long-suffering children and grand-children on the team we met up at Action Days Out, Henfold Lakes, Dorking, in the rain. Ah well. Ian and Callum Marshall briefed us, which is when ‘easy’ and ‘The Wellington’ seemed a million miles away, and teamwork was emphasized as crucial to the escapade. Off we trooped, to the warm up obstacles.
Ho hum. Warm up, indeed. Then it was 1,2,3, and off we went. Mud? Oh yes. Water? Oh yes? Small obstacles? Oh no. BIG obstacles.
Ian and Callum were there all the way, (on the bank). We ranged in age 11 to 70, and everyone helped everyone else. Was it like one great mudlark? Not exactly, one has to say, in fact, just feeling a little faint at the memory.
I found dragging my feet out of the mud was half the battle, but there was the other half of the battle looming as I tried to find somewhere to put the foot that would actually help me hoof up the bank. Frequently it was on some poor soul’s knee. But then I took the weight of a few so all is fair in a mudbath.
So, easy? NO. Fun? Oh yes. I haven’t laughed so much for years, even when Ian asked us to link arms and run across the next few inches of water, which we did. It was actually several feet deep. Then there was crawling through water beneath barbed wire, throwing ourselves through tyres (frantic searching to find one big enough for my bum – oh, the humiliation had I stuck)
Finally the end, and yes, you guessed it: debrief over lunch at a pub down the road, The Royal Oak Stonebridge. Adrian and Beverley Waterworth looked after us like troopers. Try it.
A success? Fantastic day, a great team, we all know one another far too well, having trodden/thrown, tugged one another into and out of obstacles. We surely must have soft skin from the all- over mudpack.
Action Days Out – Ian and Callum are a great team. Boris, Callum’s 5 month old Norfolk Terrier came round with him, and found a false boob from the previous day’s Stag Mud Challenge. Yes, indeed, Stag and Hen parties do it here too. Crikey. It’s fun, give it a whirl, but be prepared to throw your clothes away afterwards. Of course, we’re all looking at Norfolk terrier puppies now.
£1750 raised so far. Remember every penny Words for the Wounded raises goes to where it should, as the grannies absorb all costs. If you fancy helping the wounded. Go to: