Date: 15th March 2015 at 12:22am
Written by:


Walsall fan Graeme Brooke’s started his walk from Walsall to Wembley this afternoon during half time of Walsall’s 1-1 draw with MK Dons.

Here is his first day diary

It has all finally happened!

I don`t know where to start. What a mental day. I have spent the last few days rushing round like a blue arse fly! Absolutely crazy. From yesterday – I was getting ready, spent ages packing. It was mental then down to Walsall to get a £20 store donation from Morrison`s (Thanks!) and prepare everything for the walk and film some more interviews for the documentary. Lots of people appear to have heard me on Free Radio today which is cool, I think I was on the news, not sure.

Then rushed straight to the Saddlers Club and did the whole bucket routine. I don`t know how much that raised yet but I do know that the bucket was very heavy so I hope a lot. I may count it tonight though its 9.10 and I haven`t even had a bath yet and I am due to go back to my journey at 7.30am tomorrow, so maybe not. If not tonight then tomorrow, I will let you know. People were so generous. This whole walk has amazed me. The MK Dons fans were brilliant and generous, our fans were brilliant – everyone was. Even the fella that sells the nice old fashioned badges on the pin boards! Gave me a fiver and then a free badge. What a legend! When I write this up properly and let you know of everyone`s generosity – you`d have to be the Terminator not to show some emotion (though that`s the Terminator in the first film because in the second one, he does show emotion! Sorry for that geek moment).

Then did the old filming for the BBC. That was cool (though just watched it back and I think my weird saunter across the pitch looked random and apologies for the cocky demeanour – “I`ll blitz this”, what is that about?!). Then got to meet Dean Smith and he knew my name (One Direction moment – Aaaaaaaargh, he knows me, we are BFFs now! Aaaaaaaaaargh) and we had a good chat. Then off I went to get ready in a side room and couldn`t hear any of the first half, gutted. Then . . . onto the pitch. I was more anxious for that than anything. Walking out on the pitch to the amazing applause was so goosebumpy – everyone who clapped and cheered, it was amazing. Being stood on the middle of the pitch in the middle of a ground that I have been going too so often for so long was surreal. I apologise for doing the footballer being subbed clap to the fans as I left, I couldn`t help myself. It felt real and very natural, I think me and my BFF need to talk about my availability for post-Wembley. If he thinks I am only signed to standard one year contract, he can think again!

Anyway – then I was off. I had a small group of friends, family and staff from Walsall Society for the Blind (what a bunch of stars!) waiting for me outside. Comedy moment, I walked off as the BBC followed me as we agreed and I kept walking. I think the little group thought I was coming back . . . . . I wasn`t. I then kept walking and couldn`t see anyone. Kept walking – still no-one. Kept walking – saw them catching up. It took a while. Ha ha. My dog: Waffle then joined me for a bit which was the best. However when I walked off and left him – he just sat there and stared at me. I suppose I forgot that part of the walk – leaving Waffle. Very sad!

Anyway – onto the canal and it was golden if not a little muddy. I was joined by my good friend: Bob Gee for the whole entire walk today (it was only 9 miles but still!). I was also joined for around 3 miles by another inspiration and amazing friend of mine named: Debbie Cooper and her little boy – who she pushed in a pram along the muddy towpaths of Wednesbury and Perry Barr. What a star she is! Couldn`t believe it. Approaching the end of the walk I was approached by a runner named: Jon, who asked for some water. When Bob Gee shamelessly plugged the walk – he said he`d heard me on the radio and wanted a photo! I felt like a celeb, like OMG! He has since tweeted it AND made a donation!! What a legend of a man. That was the most interesting thing to report until . . . A ROCK CAME FLYING PAST ME AND BOB and we were said to be (I am speaking in code!) ‘Male genitalia craniums`. Just as we were walking through a dark tunnel underneath Spaghetti Junction! What is the point in that?! Wowzer. Being on the other side of a canal from me doesn`t half make you tough. Danger Danger. Yet more reason to donate – my life is at risk! During my training – I often saw people feeding the ducks, if people threw bread at me like they do for the ducks, I`d quite appreciate that (preferably buttered with some strong cheddar and red onion – I would prefer the bread to be Tiger bread too. Just saying).

I would really really like to say thank you to everyone today. It was a lovely, special and amazing day in so many ways but I am so glad that throughout the ‘attraction` and ‘bravado` of the day – the main focal point has been – Walsall Society for the Blind, Donations and my granddad: Ronaldo. Thank you everybody. I am off for a bath. Up at 6am, leaving for Salford Junction at 7am, walking by 7.30am – tomorrow is the big one and now I am all alone! 24 miles. Longest walk of the entire process. COME ON! I`ll blitz it! (Again?! Sorry!)

Distance – 8.9 miles. Time: 2 hours, 57 minutes. Mph: 3.02

DAY ONE COMPLETE. 129 miles to go.

8 days to Wembley

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