I have now turned the corner and am now in the home straight in terms of fund raising – I’ve raised £8000 of my target of £8644 – (£8644 representing £1 for every orphan who is registered with the Mango Tree Orphan Support Programme).
I would like to thank the very kind supporters of my ride in the village who took an interest in the ride, and helped me towards that target. I am especially grateful to Steve Marson who gave me so much technical support and advice before I set off!
The Mango Tree has been blessed by a film director who is a keen supporter and who went out to Kenya to visit the work of the charity and made a film for us.
Arriving at John O’Groats reminded me of the Alfred Wainwright quote in his beautifully illustrated ‘Pennine Way Companion’ (a guide that I used 39 years ago for that long distance trail). Referring to arriving at the end of the walk he says, “There is no brass band to greet you. There is no body waiting to pin a medal on your chest. There may be people about but they will not take any notice of you. Nobody cares that you have walked, and just this minute, completed the Pennine Way. You will not get your name in the papers, not be interviewed by television. No, the satisfaction you feel is intensely personal and cannot be shared. The sense of achievement is yours alone simply because you have earned it alone….. You did not do it to earn memories, but memories you have and in abundance for the rest of your life.” Well I have to say that these words did strike a cord as a stood at the edge looking out to sea 1178.49 miles from the start 34 days earlier.
Another highlight has been crossing the 1000 mile mark since leaving Lands End (it happened a few miles beyond Dundonnell on the way to Ullapool near the access path I once took a couple of years ago to climb the beautiful mountain called An Teallach) The 1000 mile mark was in itself a highlight but It also reminded me, as if I needed to be reminded, of just how much of the ride was in Scotland itself having crossed the border into Scotland at 604 miles.
It struck me this evening as I sheltered from the unseasonally strong winds and rain that since crossing over into Scotland I had cycled up more than 5900 metres along the roads of western Scotland. Kilimanjaro is 5895m!
Since I left William and Gail at Dumfries the weather conditions have been a constant source of frustration! Wet Wet Wet for the majority of Tuesday which combined with a strong side wind made progress painfully slow. I arrived in Cumnock and dived in to a B & B with a drying room and took stock.
I was joined by the founders of the Mango Tree, William and Gail Fulton who were keen to cycle with me for the day and share with me the highlight of crossing the border into Scotland. What a fabulous day!
Ferry across the Mersey, special landscapes and memories of my early teaching days flood back to keep me company as I reach 558 miles and rejoin Willie and Gail Fulton to cross the border finally into Scotland.
Headline news is that 427 miles have been cycled (with a few of those walked up hill!) and £4444.10p has been raised – just over 50% of the target total. Here I am paying in some of your donations into the Mango Tree’s HSBC bank on route!
While I have been a trustee of The Mango Tree Charity for over 10 years and helped young people raise thousands and thousands of pounds, I have never undertaken a sponsored event myself, and, I am not a cyclist! However, my ex-pupils always proved time and again that nothing is impossible so I have taken the plunge.
I have set-up my own website for the cycle ride at www.cycle4mango.co.uk and I can also be found on Facebook, where I’ll be updating my progress.
The Mango Tree charity focuses its support for the 8644 registered orphans in Kenya and Tanzania. At its peak, there were over 13500 but communities are gaining strength and resilience now the peak of HIV/AIDS has passed so the charity is performing exactly as we had hoped – it seeing strengthening communities take up responsibility for their orphans.
Mango Tree is not an orphanage, but a Community Based Organisation with the slogan “Empowering orphans through Communities” . It is our greatest delight to see alumni from Mango Tree fund raise themselves in Kenya and Tanzania and also give practical support to younger orphans now that they are self reliant. Mango Tree rejects completely the philosophy of hand out from the rich West come what may!