Christian Fairbrother, one of the Funeral Directors at the Diss branch of Rosedale Funeral Home has now completed his Rickshaw Challenge and raised over £3000 to be split between two charities: Brain Tumour Research and Cool Earth.
Christian, along with his wife Julia and their best friends Sam Mason and Rob Waddington from Botesdale, have been fundraising in memory of Julia’s sister Susan (Susy) Long, who passed away from a brain tumour a couple of weeks before her 31st birthday in December 2010. They were joined by two American adventure buddies, Trish and Andy, and another 38 teams from various countries each travelling their own route. Christian was supported with ten extra days of paid annual leave – an incentive Rosedale Funeral Home offers all its staff if they have a volunteering role they wish to fulfil or a charity they want to support.
Christian, his wife and friends travelled to Sri Lanka to participate in a self-funded tuk- tuk challenge travelling a total of 777 km up mountains, through tea plantations, along rocky tracks, dirt roads, through busy towns and cities and along stunning coastal roads. Starting from Negombo on the west coast on 13 October, having just the day before to get to grips with their 3-wheeled vehicle they then had 7 days to reach the finish line on the 19th October situated at Talalla Beach on the south coast of the island. Christian said “The Adventurists warned us that the 198cc auto rickshaw was not much more than a powered wheelbarrow, barely powerful enough to carry itself, let alone two adventure buddies and their rucksacks! It had 10.5 bhp engine, tiny wheels, practically no ground clearance and bad suspension, which we found to be very accurate whilst travelling up the steep mountainside roads and tracks”.
Reporting on their daily online blog, the team say there was no support on hand to fix brakes or mend a puncture, and Christian reports, “We were warned by the organisers that this would not be a glorified holiday, rather an unsupported adventure, not without risk to health and life; as Julia found out on the first day following a visit to a rock temple in a torrential monsoon downpour when she had an unfortunate encounter with an open storm drain, which required a hospital trip, x-ray and stitches to her leg!”
“Notwithstanding that, during our trip we were lucky enough to see, among other things wild elephants by the roadside, monitor lizards, peacocks, cows, dogs, monkeys, snorkel with sea turtles and other exotic marine life, visit beautiful temples and monuments, experience stunning views and scenery, drive through tea plantations in the mountains in low lying cloud, witness huge Buddha statues, roadworks, as well as having to drive in the chaos they call everyday traffic. This truly was a once in a lifetime trip” says Christian “We wanted to do something to raise funds and awareness of Brain Tumour Research but also take part in a challenge that Susan would have relished.”