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