A couple from Fenham, Newcastle, drove in the fast lane this summer as they completed a mammoth motoring challenge which raised over £2,000 for St Oswald’s.
Husband and wife team Clive and Sally Harding took part in the Mongol Rally, an adventure challenge which requires participants to buy a 1 litre engine car and travel 10,000 miles across Europe and Asia before driving across the finish line in the Siberian town of Ulan-Ude, 400 miles north of Ulaanbaatar.
The Harding’s weren’t allowed access to any navigational devices and didn’t have any support or backup to rely on. They travelled through several countries, over various terrains, and endured a multitude of different weather conditions and climates. In the words of the challenge organisers: “If nothing goes wrong, everything has gone wrong!”
Clive told us:
We had an incredible experience over the summer and although it got pretty hairy at times, we both thoroughly enjoyed our adventure. The trip wasn’t without some stumbling blocks, as we had an issue with our car breaking down but we were fortunate enough to meet someone in the middle of Russia who could help us repair our car and get us to the finish line!
We saw some incredible sights during our 6 weeks including some countries we’ve never been to before. Some of the breathtaking sights included; Lake Bled in Slovenia, Toktogul Reservoir in Kyrgyzstank and the Darvaza gas crater. One of the most stunning sights we saw was a hot air balloon display over Turkey as dawn broke. We also had the immense pleasure of meeting some incredibly generous and hospitable people who opened up their homes to us.
As we travelled through different countries and continents, ensuring we knew all the motoring rules and cultural etiquettes was tricky, but I think we managed!
Although Sally was glad she took part in the Mongol Rally, she’s keen not to relive the experience. I on the other hand, am aware that nobody has ever entered the same vehicle in the rally more than once. So who knows?
The pair chose to fundraise for St Oswald’s in memory of Sally’s dad, John Clayton. John spent his last 12 days on St Oswald’s Adult Inpatient Unit before he died in June 2016.
My dad came to St Oswald’s for end of life care after being diagnosed with lung cancer. I found the care at the Hospice outstanding; dad had a beautiful room which was open to the gardens and we were made to feel welcome whenever we visited. Someone from the family stayed with dad each day he was in the Hospice, including our grown up children and the grandchildren. St Oswald’s isn’t a scary place for children to come to, as we initially thought it might be. We did things like have picnic lunches in the gardens and the children always wanted to come with us.
What is special about St Oswald’s is that they don’t just care for the patient, but the whole family too, and we all felt looked after. Everyone is so compassionate, from the consultants to the volunteers. There was plenty of privacy if we wanted to be together as a family but you knew support was on hand too.
My dad had a good life and it was wonderful for all of us to share his last 12 days together. It was actually quite restorative and made the process as relaxing as it could be as we didn’t have anything to worry about. We could be with dad, sit in the gardens and not have to think about all the little things because it was all provided at St Oswald’s. It really did feel like our home from home. Because of the outstanding care my father received at St Oswald’s, we knew that if we were ever in a position to do so we would give back to St Oswald’s for all the support they gave to us. When Mongol Rally came along we knew this was an ideal opportunity and we are thrilled to have raised over £2,000 for an incredibly worthy charity.
Lucy Smith, Community Fundraiser at St Oswald’s, said:
We were delighted that Sally and Clive chose to support St Oswald’s. Sally and Clive embarked on the challenge of a lifetime and we’re thrilled they chose to support St Oswald’s. We were in constant contact with Sally and Clive throughout their trip and offered them as much encouragement as we could from back here in the UK as they steered their way through some of the toughest terrains in the world. We’ve had lots of amazing fundraisers completing some inspiring and hair-raising challenges over the years, but this has to be one of the most adventurous! St Oswald’s needs to raise £7.5 million each year from voluntary giving to ensure we can continue to keep our doors open delivering high quality care to people of the North East. That’s why these fundraising events are so important to us. We’d like to say a huge thank you to Sally and Clive for their hard work and determination.
To support Clive and Sally you can donate to their Just Giving page: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/teammovingmountains.
If you’ve felt inspired by their story and wish to learn more about how you can fundraise for St Oswald’s whilst ticking a challenge off your bucket list, then please visit this webpage: http://www.stoswaldsuk.org/get-involved/campaigns/life-list.aspx