I'm sitting in Newcastle Airport typing this after a busy 24 hours of getting my media duties done as well as packing my suitcases! Thank you to ITV North East Tonight (Derek Proud, Ian Payne and Pam Royle) and BBC Look North (Julie Smith) for some excellent coverage yesterday. Thanks also to Charlie Charlton for a really fun interview for BBC Newcastle.
I thoroughly enjoyed speaking at last night's "Good Luck Run Geordie Run" event at my sponsor Benfield's VW dealership on Scotswood Road. It was a very well attended event and I'm hoping that at least £350 was raised for the 2 charities. When The Children's Foundation staff let me know how much was in the collection buckets I'll let you know. It was an emotional event and Gary from Real Radio did a superb job putting questions to me. Many of which had come from the audience and were quite a challenge to answer. Out of all of the things associated with the run that I've done recently, last night's event was definitely my favorite. To be amongst so many friends and well wishers was a real treat for me. I hope the audience enjoyed it as much as I did. Thank you to Benfield for allowing us to use the dealership and to Les for supplying an unexpected and plentiful buffet.
Today started with a trip to Real Radio for a 1/2 hour prime time slot with Gary and Lisa on their Breakfast Show. All of my emotions came out on air and I almost went all "Bob Geldolf" while pleading for donations. The special audio that they've put together for promos and to play in the background is absolutely spectacular. It's a rousing 3 minute poem that you will hear parts of in the next 3 months. I'm told that it will be played in full on the final day. Imagine the motivational, awe inspiring qualities of the Superman and Rocky themes with a Australian take on Rudyard Kipling's "If" and you're almost there with it. I'm lucky enough to have the entire piece on my iPod and will, no doubt, be listening to it when the need arises.
If you missed me on Gary and Lisa's show then you can listen again here.
I've just finished a fun session with photographers from The Chronicle and Benfield's own in house photographer. Sky Tyne & Wear were also in attendance and I gave them an interview. Watch out for that on their Twitter page later today.
Thank you to my support man Graham, George Caulkin, Liz Luff, Libby Nolan (all pictured above) for a fitting send off from Newcastle Airport. Their support on top of all of the Tweets and Facebook message are really appreciated. The donations have been coming in nicely today also. Thank you to everyone who has visited my Virgin Money Giving page. The generosity of the general public, as ever, never ceases to amaze me. Rest assured, that I will be giving my best efforts in Australia to warrant such amazing kindness and generosity.
I managed to speak to George Caulkin about the run while I was at the airport. You can listen to that here.
I feel very confident about giving the 2600 mile run a really, really good go. The danger, difficulty and absolute enormity of the task ahead means that success is by no means a done deal. Some have even said that "It's a road that couldn't be run". That said, with my efforts, a huge amount of good luck and your virtual roadside support via Twitter etc I stand a more than realistic chance of making it from Perth to Sydney. Please keep the support coming. It will be invaluable. We are all in this together.
I'll close this final blog post from Newcastle Airport by saying asking for your hard earned money. If you would like to make a donation then please use the link below.