Our original target was £2,000 to provide weekly tennis sessions in Greenwich Park. Thanks to the phenomenal support from our family, friends, community, the Westcombe News and Blackheath and Westcombe Ward who donated £4,500, we have raised more than four times this amount.
Sharon Brokenshire, MBE, Director and Founder of South London Special League says the extra money will go towards new Powerchairs for Greenwich Powerchair Football Club. (GPFC):
“Greenwich Powerchair Football Club play in the South England Region League and travel each weekend to matches. It is essential we are able to provide modern competitive equipment for our players.
The 10 Powerchairs are getting old and expensive to maintain. A new Powerchair costs over £7,000 and the Marathon money will go towards buying new Powerchairs.
Powerchair Football is a skilful, fast-moving game, enabling physically disabled players to play football at whatever level they desire – at a really competitive level, or just enjoy being part of the game. Many players prior to Powerchair Football lived solitary and isolated lives; the health and wellbeing improvements are enormous and can be seen at every game.”
A huge Thank You to everybody who supported our appeal – every penny is making a direct, positive impact on people’s lives, providing much needed opportunities for our diverse, disabled community of all ages to meet friends, get fit and have fun.
We hope to see the Powerchair team in action one weekend soon. In the meantime, there’s still time to donate to our Marathon Appeal.
Matthew Pennycook MP for Greenwich and Woolwich, visits Greenwich PFC
Leon finally emerges from his deep coma and the nightmares caused by the accident that almost killed him in hopsital. He’s been given a test treatment, Syndrome K. As he takes more of the drug, an unexpected side effect emerges: the startling increase in his intelligence.
Not particularly academic at school, Leon notices with astonishment how K opens up his mind and his perception. The drug makes Leon first notice and then begin to understand strange patterns, the interconnectedness of art, music, science, everything that surrounds us.
But the drug soon starts to take over and Leon becomes increasingly enmeshed inside his own consciousness, turning ever more inward while his brain searches restlessly for the ultimate Gestalt, the pattern that underpins the entire universe.
Award-winning US writer Ted Chiang’s sci-fi thriller was published in 1991 and explores with rich lyrical density, what it is like to become ever more self-aware. The sad irony: the more self aware and hyper intelligent Leon becomes, the more he’s becoming locked inside his own head, separated from the rest of humanity while seeing how connected we all are, the strands of energy that vibrate between person to person.
‘Benevolence’ muses Leon, ‘being able to bestow generosity on other people. How many emotions are required by the presence of another person….’
Leon creates his own language from all the languages of the world so he can express the inexpressible. He writes a poem ‘which is like combining Finnegan’s Wake and Pound’s Cantos…’
Ted Chang’s book is packed with rich descriptions: Leon’s search for the ultimate Gestalt and the struggle to describe what lies beyond the capabilities of human language – yet still having to use language to describe what lies beyond words and most mere mortals’ comprehension.
Gestallt – the patterns and the systems that underpin us, climb inside and understand the secret machinations of the universe…
After his third dose of K, Leon watches his mind watching itself working itself out, each time creating chemical reactions and interconnections. Leon’s watching himself watching himself fall into ever deeper understanding but the more understanding, the less that is understood as the universe expands out in a giant fractal. Soon, he’s using more of his brain than any other human in existence but his mind is getting too big for his brain, a mere piece of organic matter, to contain.
‘ Exploring the nature of reality and existence – that life is an illusion, that life is just a dream – that the true reality is just out of reach. That to be biologically concious means we can never get to ultimate reality – our thoughts, our emotions, our attachments constantly getting in the way.’
Patterns everywhere. Life ending and beginning across the globe one second at a time. The condition inexorably changing as time moves constantly forwards one moment to the next. Steam rises from the subway, smoke curls up from the bonfire, the child laughs, the clouds chase each other across the sky.
Plane trails, leaves falling, people walking. The exhalation of my breath running on a cold Autumnal day.
The universe: zero point, one giant fractal. Half into half into half and back out again.
Further Thoughts and Reading
There was a definite mind expanding, examining theme to this weekend. The trailer at the end of Episode 3 was for The Haunting of Alma Field.
One of the most challenging things I have ever done…
I spent much of Friday afternoon staring apprehensively out of the window at the rain pouring down relentlessly. Visions of me twisting my ankle in Oxleas Woods led to a rapid rethink of my planned route. The carefully mapped out circular route via the Green Chain and Oxleas Woods seemed a wonderful idea on a crisp Autumnal day, less so during a downpour.
First loop – Westcombe Park, Blackheath, Lewisham Way to Cator Park and back – 14 miles
The only other people I saw out that day were bedraggled dog walkers and other marathon runners, easily identifable even if their numbers weren’t visible under their wet weather gear by the look of stoic determination. As we passed each other, we high-fived and continued our unique journeys towards the magic 26.2 miles, step by wet and soggy step.
Second Loop – Westcombe Park, Thames Path to Rotherhithe and back – 12 miles
Final 6 miles – run a couple of steps, walk a couple of steps to a landmark a little in the distance. A car, a statue, a lampost. Wince, walk, swear, run repeat…
My neighbours saw me run out and were following me on the Virgin Marathon app. They were waiting for me to stagger back round the corner. I’d miscalculated the final 0.2 miles which meant I’d finished at the bottom of the hill instead of at the top. I very nearly flagged down a bus to take me that final bit.
Once Lockdown is over, South London Special League are going to spend the money we raised to provide tennis on Friday morning in Greenwich Park.
Sunday October 3rd 2021 will be my second London Marathon. I’ll be running once more for South London Special League, helping raise money for Friday Morning tennis in Greenwich Park. I’m looking forward to watching the sessions and the players develop over the year and will provide an update here.
31km, 19.2 miles. My longest distance ever. I was running a steady, much slower pace than I’d originally planned; once more I found myself naturally speeding up for the final 4km and actually enjoying the run.
26.2 miles amazingly now feels achievable. I just need to figure out the final part of my route and avoid the strangely magnetic presence of the A205 South Circular when I reach Eltham…
The next part is still TBC as I lost the Green Chain route and ended up on the A205 South Circular for the third time. The plan on the day is to continue on the Green Chain route to Oxleas Wood, pick the Thames at Woolwich and loopback until I reach 26.2 miles.
Beckenham back to Greenwich: Change of scene via BBC Sounds. I travelled to nineteenth century Russia and a classic tale of doomed romantic love with Anna Karenina – imagining Beckhenham Mansion (below) was the place where Count Vronksy abandons Kitty to dance with Anna for the first time…