Three friends to Rikshaw length of India in support of Devon Air Ambulance
1st August 2018
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Toby, Ollie and Josh are taking on the 2,500km challenge of the infamous Rickshaw Run India starting in August.

 Two years ago, Hugh Massy-Birch suffered a heart attack, but sadly, in spite of the efforts of the air ambulance team who attended him, within 20 minutes, he passed away. 

This August, Hugh's son, Oliver, 25, and two friends, Toby, 26, and Josh, 25, are raising money for Devon Air Ambulance, to acknowledge their professionalism and efforts aimed at reviving his father. 

'They worked tirelessly and professionally and although they could not revive him, their response, manner and effort was incredible,' says Oliver. 

The team of friends is raising funds to help ensure that the helicopters are able to continue to arrive in time-critical incidents. They are raising both funds and awareness by taking on the infamous Rickshaw Run in India this August. 

'We'll be travelling 2,500km from Jaisalmer (North India) to Cochin (South India), all crammed into one Auto-Rickshaw, otherwise known as a Tuk-Tuk,' says Toby. 'We have no set route, no back-up, and no way of knowing if we're going to make it. The only certainty is that we will get lost, we will get stuck, we will break down and hopefully, we will raise a bit of money for Devon Air Ambulance.' 

For those who are unfamiliar with such a vehicle, a Tuk-Tuk is a small motorbike with a trailer - a very popular mode of transport in cities across Asia. 

'It's not very fast, it smells, it falls over when you go round corners, it breaks downs more often than an emo teenager and a day's driving feels like you've been kicked up the **** by an elephant,' says Josh, who is joining them in Australia. 

It's fair to say that although they will be travelling in a very distinctive style, comfort won't be a significant part of the experience. Nevertheless, the three are looking forward to immersing themselves in the new experiences, and in exploring and understanding more about India by travelling its whole length. 

The fundraiser is a world away from the friends' day jobs: Toby is a physiotherapist at Nuffield Health in Exeter, Josh is a primary school teacher in Australia, and Oliver is a director at Fortis Clothing. 

‘We’re always impressed by the creative ways our fundraisers choose to support us, and we wish them all the very best with their challenge,’ says Caroline Creer, Fundraising and Communications Director at Devon Air Ambulance. ‘Last year it cost £6.4 million to keep Devon’s air ambulances flying, so their contribution is a welcome support.’ 

The friends all share a sense of adventure and are looking forward to heading into the unknown, ready to embrace the challenges of the intense heat, the mechanics of the rickshaw, the language barriers and the cultural differences, but they are also excited about the opportunities to try new cuisine and maybe spot the occasional elephant or tiger. 

'We're really keen to support Devon Air Ambulance as you never know when you might need them,' says Toby.

 Visit the friends' JustGiving page for detailed stats about the technical challenges of travelling via tuk tuk, and to make a donation.


About the Author

Colin S

Member since: 27th February 2014

Hi, I am Colin Slade, I am the New Business Manager here at thebestof Exeter and I handle lots of the PR and News stories for our clients

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