History and Hollywood are filled with stories of ordinary men rising to extraordinary heights. Their stories are as similar as they are different. There is danger lurking and a woman involved. There is a war somewhere or the means to stop one. There is passion and agony. There may be tears or laughter. There may be drinks or death. The bottom line is the cause and the fight, and that single moment when a normal human being has the ability to see that some things are bigger than him. It’s about doing what is right.
Is that too big a build-up for what Dan Hughes and his friends are doing in less than a week? Perhaps. They’ll say it is. They may be right or they may be crazy. They may just be the lunatic you’re looking for. There is no place for modesty when money is on the line.
Next week the men in question are going on a journey that covers roughly 80 miles in six days. There will be camping and pubs and tired legs along the way. Let’s be honest, by normal and ordinary I meant out of shape. They are not men that undertake such journeys on a whim.
Perhaps you are wondering why they would undertake it. The answer is easy: Joseph Salmon.
Joseph Salmon was a happy and seemingly healthy 3-year-old little boy, no different than the two small boys sleeping down the hall from where I now sit. No different than your son or your daughter. No different than we ourselves were so many years ago.
In the words of his parents, Neil and Rachael Salmon, “Joseph was a happy, healthy three year old who loved life. He enjoyed playing with his toy trains, his cars and his pretend kitchen. He had a busy social life, with lots of friends from nursery, friends who lived nearby and his little sister. He enjoyed cooking with his mummy, going on trains and buses with his daddy, and playing outside with anyone who would join in. Joseph had a passion for books and had just started to ‘read’ them to his younger sister.
“It felt like his life was just beginning.”
Joseph died on April 1st, 2005.
He died from streptococcal pneumonia.
“It’s very rare and it took him, although suddenly, very peacefully,” said his mother. “When I went in to him in the morning it was obvious from his posture that he’d just gone into a deeper and deeper sleep and never knew anything about it. This too is what all the medical personnel associated with him told us. There are not many (if any) consolations when you lose a child, but at least he didn’t suffer. And as a parent, it’s one of the things you want most for your child isn’t it?”
The Joseph Salmon Trust has been set up in his name to help parents bereaved of a child. There are many good causes in the world and I know that times are tight, but this, my friends, is something worthwhile. This is for the love of a little boy gone and the parents that remain.
It is to help those parents that have nightmares ahead.