By Peter Richardson – West Bridgford Dad
On waking on the morning of July 11th 2012, I checked my phone for any new messages that had come through during the night.
I was expecting some work related news – but was not prepared for the most profoundly brave and emotional text I have ever received. Nor am I, or the four other friends who woke in similar fashion to read the message that morning, ever likely to receive one of its kind again.
Our friend Tony Walshe had battled with a particularly rare and aggressive form of cancer called synovial sarcoma for nearly a year and, feeling that his life was coming to an end, wanted to pass on several messages to us whilst he had the chance to do so.
I won’t divulge the exact contents of the text; that will remain private.
Suffice to say that the recurring theme of Tony’s last thoughts were of love for his family and happiness at the times he had spent with them. Tony passed away the following morning, just 40 years of age and having led a previously fit and healthy life.
At Tony’s funeral, we discovered from his family that before moving to West Bridgford he held a deep passion for hill walking. It seemed appropriate that to remember Tony for his bravery in illness and camaraderie with us in life, we should embark on a challenge in keeping with his interests.
We decided to undertake the Three Peaks Challenge in July of this year, on the anniversary of his passing, July 12th.
Our only remaining issue (apart from the usual fitness challenges that this will represent for a group of forty-somethings with an interest in beer and curry), was which charity to raise money for.
We eventually decided on the Willow Foundation. They provide special days for seriously ill 16 to 40 year olds and their families, offering a break from the realities of their diagnosis and treatment. For Tony, they provided positive memories that were of comfort to him in his final weeks and that his family will cherish forever.
We are proud to sponsor this charity and in so doing remember our great friend, Tony.
If you would like us to help raise money for the Willow Foundation and sponsor Team Tony Walshe in their 3 Peaks Challenge please visit our donation site at www.justgiving.com/teamtonywalshe3peaks.