This is a message from my childhood buddy, Rob. He and I used to regularly cycle the 20 odd miles to Monmouth as 15 yr olds and pitch a tent. It was my first taste of biking really, and a really good laugh.

Hi Russ, I am obviously one of the many that are in awe of your progress, am an avid follower of your blog and must admit that your inner strength to overcome your accident is no surprise to me, or anyone else that I’m feeding updates to. My parents (Clar & Col), my brother and Tracey are using a phrase that is common place amongst all of your blog followers……….”if anyone was going to beat this, it’s Russell Dawkins”. However, I have have some grit in my eye moments with your humility and honesty about your situation and it is inspiring to hear the amount of support, love and care you receive and how much this means to you. Last week was the Monmouth show and I often recall the times when we would cycle from home to Monmouth through the lanes and camp out before getting up at the crack of dawn to sneak in before we had to pay, maybe this was part of what kicked off your interest in long distance cycling, especially the extreme rush of conquering Gwhelog Hill while I was pushing my bike on foot, never mind the hours we spent under water at Sub Aqua club or me having my arse whipped trying to play tennis, or indeed losing to you (again) at school sports, …………happy days mate, very happy days with a guy I have always been proud to say was one of my best friends. I obviously have no words of wisdom but I hope you keep those dark shadows in a dark shadow cupboard with a bloody big bolt on the door, you are alive mate, you have a wonderful wife, 2 absolutely stunning daughters and a family and friend group that love you dearly. Whatever the outcome of your injuries you will have a life to share with them and they will cherish every moment they continue to share with you as I am sure there would have been times when they thought that they had lost you. Yes life will be different and bring new challenges for you all, but you will be there with them and that is all that will matter. I am friendly with a guy who had an accident, is now in a wheelchair and found enjoyment in wheelchair rugby, he subsequently represented Team GB at the Beijing Paralympics. I know he reflects on his situation and concedes that his participation in the Paralympics, and representing his country is something that wouldn’t have happened if he was able bodied………….do you know what I mean? I suppose what I am trying to say is that I fully expect to hear that Russell Dawkins is the world’s best at whatever you decide to do and may now have the chance to inspire a broader audience with your achievements. Anyway, enough of my babble, I continue to follow your blog and regret the fact that we haven’t seen each other for so long, we have almost 30 years worth of alcohol abuse to catch up on so the sooner we start, the sooner we will have caught up!! Keep going mate and please be inspired by the inspiration you are providing to others you awesome ugly bastard. Cheers Rob

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