Eight-year-old Nigel Williams from Maidenhead will tomorrow step into his family’s history books when for the first time he will attempt to walk alone along the three hundred-metre route from his home to school.
His mother, Jennifer said that although she was apprehensive, she supported her son in what she described as ‘the journey of a lifetime’. ‘Of course, as a family we are aware of the dangers of the challenge Nigel faces, but we are fully behind him in this adventure,’ she said. Looking anxiously at the sky, she added that with the weather forecast predicting patchy rain and a stiff breeze for the next day, she still hoped that the attempt wouldn’t have to be abandoned at the last minute.
‘We are a three car family and decided we had to make a difference for the environment’s sake, and Nigel came up with the walk to school idea. I don’t think as parents we are behaving irresponsibly. We want to show that the spirit of adventure isn’t dead in England’s green and pleasant land.’
Nigel will have the back up of his father following in his Land Rover in case of emergencies and he will be equipped with a mobile phone, Sat Nav, a self-erecting tent and a rucksack packed with iron rations of crisps, fizzy drinks and Mars bars. The headmaster of Cuthbert’s Academy said the whole school would be turning out to cheer Nigel on over the last few metres. But Mrs Williams said she knew Nigel would be faced with several formidable obstacles along the route;
‘That poodle at number 47 will bark and jump up at the gate as he passes and there’s quite a nasty incline for a couple of metres just before he arrives at the crossing with the lollipop lady. I only hope his new trainers hold out.’
Another potential danger was the McDonald’s at the corner of Acacia Avenue, only fifty metres from the school. ‘I hope he isn’t tempted to seek shelter there, with his ultimate goal almost in sight. I confess I dread the moment when he steps out of that door and walks off down the drive. Yesterday when we did a trial run round the garden, I burst into tears when he waved and said, ‘OK, Mum, I am just going outside and I may be some time’.
20th April 2009