A word from the Tight-head.

“A stroll, you say…”

I was visiting Terry on a weekly basis at the Blackrock Hospice, doing what I do best, spouting inane drivel, wittering on about this, that and the other. Those of you who know me can vouch that this is an unrivalled skill set. I have no idea what he was getting from it, apart from probably a headache, but he didn’t kick or punch me, which for Terry was a strong hint of friendship.

Then one day as I was relating the latest disaster to befall Northampton RFC when he cut across me.

“Smithy, let me tell you this, even with all the crazy, wonderful things I have done in my life, I am happiest and at peace right here right now”.

I held it together for another 20 minutes until he kicked me out (pure El Tel, that). I was overcome and the pure humanity and strength of the man knocked the stuffing out of me. The “Yes, he was a grumpy Old Man, but he was our grumpy old man” trope seemed less sure or right. We didn’t delve like that again, and he seemed content in my company, and I began looking at him in a completely different light.

Almost 6 months ago to the day he passed away in a loving, caring, pain-free environment.

I know, I was there.

I knew I wanted to remember him other than at a funeral, but what to do?

I’d promised myself that I would stay true , like he did, till the end, but then what?
Enter Colm Brady, a friend and all round fitness fanatic who casually mentioned over a little light supper that he was walking the Camino with some pals. I’d like to say the Eureka moment was mine, but it really was Mr B who turned on the switch.

From there it was a short hop to “I’m not doing this on my own, what other idiots do I know?”

I phoned Stuart Lennon.

“Stu!  It’s Stu. This camino, it’ll be a short walk and we can raise some cash for the hospice.”

He has spent 6 months on the logistics and managed to pick up a couple of Frogs along the way.

I even managed to entice him over to Ireland for a bit of training, which for once we took seriously; 37KM and it rained for almost 7 hours around the formidable Hill of Howth. We were led by Raymond ‘Ultra Marathon’ Buchan and aided and abetted by Wini Gallagher, Emma Jane Finnegan and Decorator and joined by Lil and Saoirse and friends of Terry back at the finish line for a cheeky bit of grub.

It was the first, and only time EVER that Lennon and I have stared at an open bottle of alcoholic grape juice and uttered the immortal line ‘No thanks, I’m a bit tired, I think we should hit the hay.’

That, my friends, is one hell of a legacy for Terry Anderson.