Malcolm Metcalf, 88, from Great Yarmouth, is switching to interrail

Published:
11:09 am September 25, 2022



More than half a century has passed since Malcolm Metcalf lay in a cast for over a year, swearing that if he ever recovered he would live a life of travel and adventure.

Now 88, the octogenarian globetrotter is embarking on his latest “epic tour” by taking 17 trains across eight countries in 22 days.


Malcolm Metcalf, from Gorleston, resting with a cup of coffee and a biscuit after being vaccinated against COVID-19 at James Paget Hospital. He was one of the first to receive the shot and had five, plus his flu shot, before his latest epic adventure. Photo: Danielle Boden
– Credit: Danielle Boden

Using the 50-year-old interrail pass – popular with students as a cheap way to see Europe by train – it will depart from Vauxhall station in Great Yarmouth on Friday September 30 at 9.17am.

He aims to raise £10,000 for the Priscilla Bacon Hospice, which has just £1million left of a target of £12.5 to raise.

Previous adventures have seen him travel overland to Australia, travel all over Britain on his bus pass and cross America by train – journeys that have collected thousands of people for charities, forge lasting friendships and resulted in several books.


Horse riding in Korumburra Victoria Australia in 1968. Malcolm Metcalf, 85, from Gorleston, has writt

Horse riding in Korumburra Victoria Australia in 1968. 88 year old Malcolm Metcalf of Gorleston prepares for his latest epic adventure.
– Credit: Archant

This one, he reckons, will likely be his last, although he has no health issues and says he “doesn’t feel his age”.

After hearing about the pass turning 50, he thought it would be ideal for his “epic last journey”.

“I’ve had some wonderful trips and thought I’d like to do one more. I can’t go to the United States because it’s too expensive, so I thought that would be the ideal,” he said.


Malcolm Metcalf, from Gorleston, taking a break from driving through Iran in 1970, on his way to Au

Malcolm Metcalf, from Gorleston, taking a break while crossing Iran in 1970 en route to Australia. At 88, he plans to go by interrail on September 30, 2022.
– Credit: Archant

Mr Metcalf, of Magdalen Way, Gorleston, financed the whole trip himself, including all overnight stays and the ticket which cost £466.

The journey will take him from St Pancras to Paris where he will stay with friends in Rambouillet, twinned with Great Yarmouth for a 40-year cape.

From there it travels through Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria and Italy to return to Yarmouth at 2:20 p.m. on Saturday October 22.

Its longest journey will be 12 hours and it will only stay one or two nights at each stop.


Malcolm Metcalf who wrote a book about his travels around the world.  Photo: James Bass

Malcolm Metcalf who wrote a book about his world travels and plans his last adventure at 88. Photo: James Bass
– Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2013

He said his only concession at age was to have a good bed every night, albeit often in a hostel costing just £21.

Mr Metcalf contracted tuberculosis (TB) to his spine in the 1950s and was in cast for a full year, taking another year to recover.

Meanwhile, her twin brother bought her a book about travel and the rest is history.

He says he always found kindness and friendship during his travels. His last so far has been marred by rail strikes and a race in Peterborough to have his passport renewed.


Malcolm Metcalf at the Old Cattle Market bus station in Ipswich.

Malcolm Metcalf at the Old Cattle Market bus station in Ipswich during his fundraising challenge to travel to Britain with his bus pass.
– Credit: Archant

Although he understands times are tough, he hopes that if a large number of people donate just £1 each, he will achieve his goal.

He said his razor, glasses and cellphone were his travel essentials and his biggest concern was the weather.

“Nothing really worries me,” he added. “I can adapt to anything. I go alone but I’m never alone.


Malcolm Metcalf, 87, from Gorleston, is delighted to be vaccinated against Covid-19.  Photo: DEN

Malcolm Metcalf, 88, from Gorleston, embarks on what he says is his final epic challenge. Photo: DENISE BRADLEY
– Credit: Copyright: Archant 2020

“I’m very excited, I can’t wait. I’m blessed with good health and keeping fit by walking to the mouth of the harbor every morning.

“After tuberculosis, I had to learn to walk again and I lost two years of my life.


Malcolm Metcalf, 88, embarks on his final epic journey from Great Yarmouth

Adventurer Malcolm Metcalf spends a year in a cast after contracting spinal tuberculosis. During this period, his twin brother gave him a travel diary and he promised himself to travel the world when he was cured.
– Credit: provided by Malcolm Metcalf

“But I wouldn’t change it for the world. That’s how I learned to appreciate life.”


Malcolm Metcalf, 88, goes interrailing for the Priscilla Bacon Hospice Norfolk charity

Malcom Metcalf’s preparations for his final epic journey have been hampered by train strikes and a mad dash to Peterborough to renew his passport.
– Credit: provided by Malcolm Metcalf

Amy Bramble, Community Marketing and Fundraising Manager for Priscilla Bacon Hospice, said: “We at Priscilla Bacon Hospice are delighted that Malcolm has chosen to fundraise for us, his energy, enthusiasm and approach to adventures of life are incredibly inspiring and we look forward to hearing from her travels over the coming weeks.

“We have raised over £11m so far and we only have £1m to raise.


Malcolm Metcalf has raised over £4,000 for the East CoastHospice with his Amtrak trip through

Malcolm Metcalf waves goodbye on his Amtrak trip across America.
– Credit: Archant

“We officially opened the site in February this year and still need the help of our local community and people like Malcolm to complete the project as soon as possible.”

To donate, search for Malcolm Metcalf’s Europe Train Tour on the JustGiving website.

About John McTaggart

Check Also

Stay at these 10 coolest hostels in Mexico City

There are many unique things to experience in Mexico City. Home to over eight million …