The Torch - A Tribute to My Father

 by William Armstrong  


When William was about 7, he used to go with dad each weekend to the golf course, when he was younger still, he would sit with him in his tractor cab as he drove up and down the fields, and when he was younger still, he would take him to the mountains.
He had lit a flame that would never go out.

Without doubt their most rewarding experience in the hills together was completing the 15 peaks in North Wales above 3000 feet. This testing little walk (13,000 feet of ascent in total) over the course of a long weekend was completed only 18 months after recovering from a stem cell transplant. That weekend Dad raised a lot of money for charity, but make no mistake, this was also a way of proving to himself that he was not going to let cancer beat him.

It had been a long and tiring journey, but Dad had almost made it. The final climb, to the final summit was without doubt the hardest. The legs ache and so does the heart. The last steps are the time to reflect on the journey gone by. Where once there seemed so long to go, now the end had rushed up to meet them without warning.

And there they were standing on the final summit. Broad smiles on their faces as they shook hands. Their photos to mark the occasion show two tanned, tired and dishevelled walkers leaning over their walking poles - what they can’t show is the courage, sacrifice, determination and sheer bloody mindedness that had got dad this far. As we stood on that last peak under an azure sky it seemed like nothing had changed. What next, to the pub of course for a pint that was well and truly deserved.

The following year Dad was William’s best man at his wedding. He was the best of men.

Some 10 years later and it was the turn of William’s son Leo, then aged 5 to stand on top of Snowdon.
The torch has been passed on.
William is now walking for a living, out in the fresh air where we belong. But when to the whole world it looks like he is striding out alone, William will always have dad by his side.


Tony and William

William and Leo