There was Superman, ET, Elfvis Presley, Wilma Flintstone, the Not-So-Naked Chef, the JCB digger driver, the Leprechaun, the flapper, AC/DC (or was that a schoolboy Boris Johnson?) and more than a few cross-dressers (you do have to wonder about them!).
Then there was the Sheikh, the Chinese Mandarin lady, the tiger, the cowboy, the mechanics, a Burnley footballer (brave man to wear that kit!) and a whole lot more.
And somehow this eccentric bunch managed to stagger from bar to bar (a whole nine of these watering holes!) and raise in excess of €1,700 to buy wheelchairs and walking aids for Portimão Hospital!
The mood was such that there was even a proposal of marriage during the evening disco which followed the walk—a “will you marry me” proposal over DJ Rockindad’s microphone by one of the walkers, Sally, to another walker, her partner Alan which, to the relief of everyone present, he immediately accepted!
It was fun in the sun for a serious purpose, a charity bar walk (I think we can safely call it a charity pub crawl, because that’s exactly what it was) of some 3.54km, or 2.2 miles of smiles in real money.
At one point Steve Baker, in drag, became a school crossing lady, holding up a pedestrian crossing sign and holding up the traffic to allow people to cross. Fortunately all the motorists passing through Arrifana saw the funny side rather than mowing him down!
The walk was the brainchild of Cath Baker, inspired by the charity pub crawls that were so popular back in her native Lancashire.
It began at O Paulo restaurant on the clifftop promontory at Arrifana and ended at the Restaurante Vale da Telha. And in between they visited the “aid stations” at Taska da Arrifana, Oceano, Hello Sailor, Brisamar, Hugo’s Bar, Restaurante Font do Vale and Taska do Karisma.
With the majority of the walkers in fancy dress and nine bars selected along the route for their “pit stops” in 29 degrees of sweltering heat, the trek of only three-and-a-half kilometres took the best part of four and a half hours to complete!
And that’s hardly surprising as each of the walkers, who all paid a €2 entry fee, also had to sing a karaoke song at Hugo’s Bar, one of the “aid stations”.
Cath was once again backed by Amovate which, in 2011, helped her to raise the funds to buy nine new wheelchairs for the hospital’s orthopaedic department and who have now made a commitment to support her Charity Bar Walk on an annual basis
Cath declared afterwards: “It was a fantastic day with a great atmosphere and it turned out to be a huge success, with the total raised so far reaching €1,700, and rising, once I collect all the tins and donations from the bars.
“I am one happy lady; this is going to help so many people,” she smiled.
“I was overwhelmed with the generosity not just of friends and the bar owners but also of complete strangers and motorists who stopped to ask what we were doing, taking pictures and giving us money.
“There was loads of enthusiasm from the public, with the car drivers tooting horns and waving, actually stopping their cars to see what it was all about.
“There were a lot of laughs and a few tears because of the sheer generosity of people, particularly from customers in O Paulo’s where we began the walk.
“The people on one table were from Mozambique and not only did they want their photographs taken with the walkers in fancy dress, one man gave us €50 and his friends raised another €40 with a quick whip-around.
“Paulo Silva, the owner, also generously gave us €100 himself and provided a free buffet to see everyone off on their way.
“Also, all the bars and restaurants where we stopped along the route were very generous and welcoming. with owner Jose Orelha at the final stop, the Restaurante Vale Da Telha, kindly opening up on his day off specially for the walk.
“It was such a brilliant day that, with the continued support of Amovate, we now plan to make it an annual event, choosing a different charity to benefit each year.
“The reason I chose Portimão Hospital this year was because I saw one lady in a terrible state after chemotherapy who could barely stand and there was no wheelchair to get her to her car.
“It broke my heart and I just needed to do something.”
Cath went on: “The idea was to take a serious cause, like raising funds for the hospital, but to add the fun element of dropping off at selected bars, having a sup or two and enjoying a little craic and banter.
“The bar owners all happily joined in, agreeing to make donations for each drink sold.
“One or two of the walkers, having taken on a little too much liquid refreshment along the way, were perhaps staggering a little at the finish.
“But at least they did so knowing that the money they have helped to raise will see some of Portimão Hospital’s infirm patients walk a little steadier thanks to the walking aids we can now supply.
“That was well worth all the sore heads the following morning!”
Brian (DJ Rockindad) Jutsum one of the organisers, added “On behalf of Cath Baker, Steve Scott and myself, thank you Vale Da Telha, Arrifana, Vales, Espartel, Paisagem Oceano and Aljezur! Once again your have shown your generosity!
“We have raised more than €1,700 Euros for Portimão Hospital so it’s a heartfelt ‘thank you’ to all the walkers, the bakers of super cakes, all the bars we visited, all the people who donated.
“Just one more thing—next year can we have it a few degrees cooler!”
Once they left Arrifana the walkers had to endure the longest leg, descending and ascending our very own “Horseshoe Pass” before they and their “groupies” stopped off at Hugo’s Bar for the karaoke and to take on more fuel for the remainder of their arduous journey.
After absorbing still more liquid refreshment at the Restaurante Fonte do Vale and Taska Karisma the walkers reached Journey’s End at the final watering hole; Jose and Catia’s Restaurante Vale da Telha.
There they were able to slake their thirsts—yet again—and enjoy hot dogs, cakes and then sing and dance to the wonderful DJ Rockindad who looked a lot like Brian Jutsum but who claimed to be Elfvis Presley.
Thanks again to Jose for opening specially to welcome the walkers and making such a valuable contribution to the success of the day.
A huge vote of thanks also goes to Hugo at Hugo’s Bar where the karaoke was a massive success, (especially as so many of the singers were so bad they were good!) and to Antonio at Taska Karisma, the staff at Fonte do Vales and the Arrifana bars and cafes who also threw their support behind Cath’s fundraising drive with so much enthusiasm.
And thanks too, to the motorists who stopped to make donations all along the route. It will happen again next year–have no doubt about that!
Last, but far from least, the winners of the Best Fancy Dress (Male) and Best Fancy Dress (Female)—a selection made by an independent panel of judges—were (drum roll)…
Peter Baker and Cath Baker.
And that really did bring a brilliant day to a very satisfying, fitting and extremely well-deserved conclusion…