Today we start the long journey home. I had to go to hospital and get checked out for acute bronchitis the other day. I am worn out exhausted physically and mentally and now medically “pilled” up for a busy day. The week before I came I was at the funeral of a dear friend who lead our trip to Everest . I gave his Eulogy to a packed church. He died on a fall in the mountains an expert mountaineer taken to soon. It was then straight away to the USA for our Cycle to Syracuse. This is our last day .
We had a great breakfast with Miles our wonderful mechanic safety man. He was paramount on our journey being safe and sound. He did so much along with our support crew for this journey. My pal the polis man Danny Demand was there another man who helped us on the last day. Peg and so many other and of course our support team.
It was then a visit to the Mall but I was tired and took it easy . The rest shopped I sat down and thought.
That afternoon we were all presented with a certificate from the relatives of the tragedy a humbling moment for all. There were many families there what an honour.
It was then taken of to watch a American football game and then head out for a meal with Doc Mason the Syracuse Lockerbie ambassador.
I was exhausted by now a frantic pack and then bed head full of thoughts and a last night in America.
Today we fly out with memories I will never forget.
Pain, tears , boundless love, forgiveness , comfort, healing, memories, kindness, hugs, cuddles more tears, respect, commemoration, thoughts for the future.
These are just some of the emotions .
I have been asked by so many relatives what it was it was like that night . I never gave them soundbites I gave them my words as they came. it was hard I had more memories but I tried to comfort and they comforted me.
I said we did what we could, we respected their loved ones we tried to give them
Dignity in a night of hell. The searches were in the main were like most of the casualties young folk as the casualties in their prime taken from us. Yet 30
Years on they have come home and the families love that.
Colin had a vision that this team fulfilled in its own way. None of us are stars we are just humble folk representing great organisations to pay our respects to those who are gone.
The future of the students here and the families and relatives we have met is so powerful. It was way out of even my comprehension. I knew a bit what it would be like but the emotion and hurt is still there but there is a future that only wisdom and youth can bring to heal the wounds.
It had been so heartbreaking yet I had to come and to be here.
I think of my family my friends in SAR who were there they took the brunt of what happened later to me . The complete hell we were involved in. The toll it took on many including me and our families and relationships .
I thought at the time I was invincible at 35 yet in a flash it was all too much to take in for us all. Trying to lead a group I knew and loved and coming up short at times yet we did our best.
Years have gone and I now think of the good things : meeting Josephine who along with other “Angels of Lockerbie” looked after us in so many ways. They despite the loss to the town showed love and care to our teams who came to help. Then they helped the relatives for many years taking each and every one into their hearts and doing so much good for all.
Thank God folk like Josephine was here she is to me what this small town is all about. They are the true story they are the heroes and I so glad they are speaking a bit about what they all did.
This was as I said one of Scotland’s saddest events yet in many ways one of my countries finest days.
The Scottish have love kindness and an open door that few nations have. Few say or tell what they do for others yet the common folk are what makes me so
Proud of you all.
Thank you all from all my heart for what you have done and do. To the families who lost so many you give me faith in human nature your losses are my losses yet through your action you look to the youth for the future.
Thank you all for looking after me and my pals we are now bonded by this journey we have all taken.
I was so lucky to be mentored by so many great folk of incredible ability not only in the mountains but in life. Whatever our talents we can help the young folk reach their potential and advise but give them the responsibility that lets them grow. Many times on a wild winters night they on a rescue produced the good they never let me down. Train hard work hard and when the time comes you will be ready !
My life will slow down now ? I have a lecture /talk in my wee village on Tuesday night to a Church women’s Guild it will be a good night to tell a bit of the Cycle to Syracuse. Words can never do this justice.
Heavy Whalley Ex Team Leader RAF Leuchars Mountain Rescue Team.