Dan Walker: BBC Breakfast host ‘caught off guard’ after coming to aid of an alcoholic

Dan Walker: BBC Breakfast host ‘caught off guard’ after coming to aid of an alcoholic

02/17/2021

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Dan Walker, who recently released his book Remarkable People, has addressed a moment he shared with a BBC Breakfast viewer who had struggled with alcohol abuse. The broadcaster recalled being “caught off guard” when the person in question approached him at Endcliffe Park in Sheffield.

It comes after the 43-year-old’s chance meeting with Tony Foulds, who tends a park memorial which honours 10 airmen who died when their plane crashed in the area 76 years ago.

The US bomber came down in Endcliffe Park, Sheffield on February 22, 1944, killing everyone on board.

Following a social media-led campaign, a flypast was successfully organised for the crash memorial at Endcliffe Park where thousands of people gathered – including the Breakfast team – to honour the airmen who died.

Dan had since met with Tony where they were approached by a woman who struggled with alcoholism.

“Tony and I were having a stroll through the park and this lovely lady came up to us,” Dan explained. “She said, ‘I’ve been desperate to speak to the two of you for about 18 months and catch you together.'”

The Breakfast host continued: “The lady said, ‘I just wanted to say that I was an alcoholic for 30 years and that morning on the flypast I was at home in bed. I had been drinking all night.

“‘I looked at the park and I saw all of these people and wanted to be a part of that so I came down and stood at the front. I was a bit sozzled but met some incredible people and a feeling of unity came over me.'”

The broadcaster revealed that the person in question had not touched alcohol following the flypast in Sheffield.

Dan said: “She felt a sway of emotion. The woman told me, ‘It gave me the instinct to try again and I’ve not touched a drop of alcohol since.

“‘So all I wanted to say to the pair of you is, thank you.'”

He remarked: “I sort of swallowed but that had caught me off guard.”

The Breakfast host was left stunned by the stranger’s admission but was grateful he was able to make a difference in someone’s life.

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Dan shared the importance of this encounter and how it relates to his book Remarkable People: Extraordinary Stories of Everyday Lives, where he recounts inspiring stories of people that he has met throughout his long-standing career.

The presenter shines a light on those people who have shown selflessness and provided courage, even during challenging times.

Dan commented: “That’s what it’s all about. One person like that.

“If you can make a difference to one person I don’t really care how many books people buy.

“If it can make an impact on somebody like that, it’s worth those late nights and early mornings to write it, I think.”

Dan explained: “What I really wanted people to take from the book, is that struggling is not failing.

“We all face struggles in life and for some people that battle is an illness, stress, abuse whatever it might be.”

He added: “It’s possible to not only change your own circumstances but to have a significant impact on the people around you.”

Remarkable People: Extraordinary Stories of Everyday Lives is out now.

 

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