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London Walk - Canary Wharf: POSTPONED

The first in a series of Compassionate Friends walks in 2020 for bereaved parents, sibings and grandparents

London Walk - Canary Wharf: POSTPONED

13 April 2020, 11.00

WALK POSTPONED

This walk has now been postponed due to the COVID-19 public health challenges. We will let you know when we are able to reschedule. Thank you for your understanding.

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April 11, 2020: Terry Ahern was due to begin The Compassionate Friends series of summer walks for bereaved parents, siblings and grandparents on Easter Monday. He has written this piece to whet appetites for when we can all meet in person again.

“It was with a heavy heart that I postponed our walk for Easter Monday. I had received a notice from the Ramblers Association that all their walks would be cancelled until 31 May so I felt that we at TCF should follow suit.

There is a different atmosphere this Easter with the restrictions of social distancing. However, Easter is another of those times where we feel the loss of our children most acutely. The memories tend to be more specific and vivid. James loved Easter! Maria’s (James's mum) heritage is in the Greek Orthodox Church where Easter is celebrated as their biggest festival; even bigger than Christmas. James and Maria would attend midnight mass on Easter Saturday night after which the extended family would gather for a very late (or early!) meal.

On Easter Sunday, James would gather his Easter eggs around him, relishing eating his way through all that chocolate!
These days it is a time when compassionate friends are needed and I’m sure many of you reading this feel the same.
Over the two years that we have held the London walks, I’ve made friends with many other bereaved parents and we have built a wonderful group who attend as many of the walks as they can. I always look forward to seeing the regular walkers and I look forward just as much to welcoming new faces. It is a group where new walkers are greeted with the quiet compassion, friendship and support which defines our charity, mindful that in some cases, the people joining us are not just new to TCF but also to facing life without their child.

I was particularly looking forward to seeing again several parents I’d met at the Retreat for Newly Bereaved at Ammerdown.
To give you all a flavour of what I had planned for this weekend, I thought I’d just tell you what I had in mind to get you in the mood for when we can all meet up.

I had practised the walk a few days earlier and was pleased with it. I couldn’t find a cafe that would be open on the bank holiday but I did identify a 400 year old, riverside pub for lunch, The Prospect of Whitby, where Dickens and Pepys were known to drink.

I found another unique, interesting pub near the end of the walk in Canary Wharf, a Wetherspoons at the Ledger Building of the West India Company, a Grade 1 listed building completed in 1804. Both had outdoor areas if any dogs had joined us for the walk.

The route was one which I anticipated being relatively quiet on Easter Monday and followed the river, canals and docks for most of its length. So, even though the walk is in London, there is lots of open space, very little traffic and a feeling of tranquility.

After leaving London Bridge Station we would follow a short section of the Thames Path past the impressive modern development around the HQ of the Mayor of London with the Tower of London on the opposite bank. Then we would cross Tower Bridge with magnificent views either side before entering the elegant St. Katherine Dock.

Then back to the river to look at a thought provoking memorial to the Eastenders who were killed in the Blitz.
From there we would have gone back inland to discover a network of canals linking the various docks where one can spot many remnants from the heyday of the Port of London.

We were also going to visit a magnificent church near Shadwell Basin, St. Paul’s, nicknamed The Sea Captains Church where Captain James Cook once worshipped.

I was delighted when I found these almost hidden paths and I couldn’t wait to share them with you.
Our route was then to enter a park, before Limehouse Basin with its array of yachts and barges.

As we approached Canary Wharf we would have passed Narrow Street, an atmospheric reminder of how the old riverside once looked. There is a lovely old pub there, the Grapes, referred to by Dickens in his novel, Our Mutual Friend. After another stretch of The Thames with sweeping views we would have arrived at the modern metropolis of Canary Wharf with its high rise blocks. After absorbing the modernity of this financial district, we have another change of scenery and century as we approach the end of the walk at West India Dock.

Like many aspects of our lives, our walks are on hold but I fully intend to reschedule them as soon as it is safe to do so.

So, as we say in these strange times, “Stay Safe“ and I look forward to seeing you in the not too distant future”

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We are delighted to announce the first in the 2020 season of Compassionate Friends Walks, led by bereaved dad Terry who is an experienced Walk Leader.

The first walk of this year will be held on 13th April 2020, Easter Monday.

We will meet at London Bridge Station at 11am at the Official Meeting Point on the Upper Concourse of London Bridge Railway Station. This is the same level as the Bus Station and near Marks and Spencer.

The Walk will be for approximately 5 miles at an easy pace with a stop for lunch at a cafe or pub. The walk should finish at around 3.30 pm at Canary Wharf which has good transport links back to Central London. This part of London is expected to be relatively quiet even on a Bank Holiday. Last years Easter Monday Walk was so quiet it felt as though we had London to ourselves!

We will visit: St. Katherine’s Dock, Wapping, Tobacco Dock & Narrow Street before a stretch of the Thames Path then on to Canary Wharf.

At the end of the walk, there will be the option of staying on for a drink in a nearby pub before making our way home.

There is no need to contact Terry to confirm your attendance, just turn up on the day.

Come and spend your Bank Holiday with other bereaved parents, grandparents and siblings on what we hope will be an interesting and enjoyable day.

This is the third year that we have held these walks which have been well received by many bereaved parents. Some have become regular attendees and for many, these walks have been their first contact with Compassionate Friends and perhaps a less daunting step (if you pardon the pun) towards our supportive Community.

We hope to run six walks throughout the Spring & Summer every four weeks or so, and all will be advertised here. We look forward to seeing you all then.

Please remember to wear comfortable shoes.

For more information or to confirm you are coming you can email Terry at terryjahern@gmail.com or text/call him on 07753832929.

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