Explorer scouts host auction to raise funds for African expedition

Mihai Ilie and Jacob Ismay are raising funds for a 25-day expedition to South Africa. PHOTO: Nick Bu

Mihai Ilie and Jacob Ismay are raising funds for a 25-day expedition to South Africa. PHOTO: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

These two scouts have experience walking through the countryside of Bungay, but their next challenge is a bit more difficult.

Jacob Ismay and Mihai Ilie, both 16, are fundraising for a 25-day expedition to South Africa next July to earn their explorer belts. The journey might sound daunting, but the scouts have prepared well through the years.

Jacob said: “I’ve had ten years of scouting and ten years of getting lost, so I’m ready.

I’ve had lots of experience walking and hiking in the countryside around here - putting up tents, cooking - but this will obviously be much different. I’ve been abroad in Europe before but this will be a working holiday.”

Both Jacob and Mihai must raise £2,150 each to cover the cost of their flights and activities in South Africa, including renovating old buildings and meeting with children at an orphanage.

Their latest fundraising event is a silent auction, to be held tomorrow at 7pm at the Maltings Pavilion in Ditchingham. Admission is free.

So far, the community in Bungay and Beccles has donated cream teas, massage coupons, leather slippers, black-and-white drawings and other prizes for auctioning off.

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And the duo are hoping people will come out to support the cause.

“What we’re doing is such a challenge,” said Jacob. “To go over and try to make a difference, without local businesses it wouldn’t be possible. When you put into perspective the things we take for granted and what our lives are like, we’re trying to make these peoples’ living conditions much better.”

The journey has been made even tougher for the boys following Brexit, with a change to the conversion rate between the pound and south African currency, the rand, meaning that their fundraising goals went up by £200. They are also hiking in a different area than originally planned.

Jabob said: “I think all the little changes are actually quite good. Now it’s a bit of a mystery where we’ll be finishing off. If it was too structured and didn’t have any challenges it wouldn’t be an adventure.”

•Are you raising money for a special cause? Email the details to amanda.ulrich@archant.co.uk