Monday, 24 March 2014

An evening with Davina

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Did you see Davina McCall's marathon effort for Sports Relief last week?  What an achievement, but well worth it raising over £2m the last I heard.  It's great seeing celebrities really put themselves out to do their bit and raise funds, it's become a feature of Sports Relief now and one I look forward to seeing after the feats of David Walliams and Eddy Izzard.  Watching these feats grips you emotionally, and that emotion drives people to donate in their droves.

I couldn't help but compare Davina's efforts to ours this summer, lots of cycling and a charitable aim it was almost impossible not to.  As I saw her struggling to cycle for hours on end it dawned on me how well organised and how much support Davina had, what a professional outfit with lots of cheering from the general public.  I also realised that Davina was cycling from Edinburgh to London, half the distance that we are taking on!

It almost sounds like I'm belittling Davina's efforts, but I'm not.  It was clear that Davina's challenge was huge, it tested her and really pushed her to the limit.  Not only that, she was hugely successful, raising a huge amount of money and completing it on time, something to be enormously proud of.  It just focuses my mind on the challenge we have to face.

All of the Land's End to John O'Groats cycle is planned and organised by us, all of the trip is self funded and we have no specialist support or assistance.  But then our target is set much lower, instead of £2m it's £25k, and it's worthwhile nonetheless.  Naturally though we need to complete with better funded events like Davina's, we're jostling for the attention and donations and it is tough, almost as tough as the ride itself.

A few conversations I've had recently have made me realise that most people don't realise what we're taking on, some thought the donations we raise would pay for the event itself (they will not, what we can't persuade people to lend or give us we will pay for ourselves) and others thought we would join an organised event (we did consider it, but we wanted to make all of the efforts ourselves rather than hang on the coat tails of someone else's work).

So, after an evening with Davina am I any the wiser, or am I feeling hard done by with nowhere near the resources or support?  With the donation tin still sat below £1k, despite me promising to wax various bits of my body you'd expect me to say the latter, but I'm wiser and I'm inspired.  You may think I'm mad, but I'm not, here's why:

I might not have an audience on BBC but I do have my family and friends who are beginning to set in train some great ideas to play their part in something special.  We can't match the BBC for resources, but together we can use innovation, ingenuity and perseverance to hit our target - just watch this space as the ideas will turn into reality over the coming months!

Not only that but we are getting fantastic support from Carla and Katie (my wife and Brendon's girlfriend), family and friends are also helping to join us for some or all of the ride.  Having them there to lift our spirits and support us will be immense, you only need to have seen Davina's ride to see we will need that.

To top of it off we have been hugely fortunate to gain some support from a local company, which has ultimately made this dream to cycle the length of the UK a reality - Marquis has generously agreed to allow us to use one of their motor-homes for our challenge, what a huge donation of support and one that we're very grateful for.  In fact, we really could not do it without them!

Lastly, I thought I'd attach a few pics from the Wiltshire Wildcat I cycled last week, hope you enjoy them!

Thanks for reading