Men to cycle across east Africa
Dan Haynes AS planeloads of Englishmen fly back from Africa having enjoyed the summer's World Cup football, two brave men from Halesworth will be heading the other way for a quite different experience.
AS planeloads of Englishmen fly back from Africa having enjoyed the summer's World Cup football, two brave men from Halesworth will be heading the other way for a quite different experience.
Pete Hennessey and Tom Sawkins are gearing up to cycle more than 5,000km through nine countries in July, in a quest to lend their medical expertise to African communities.
The pair will travel from Pretoria in South Africa up the eastern coast of the continent to Nairobi in Kenya, through mountains, desert and rainforest.
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While they have a rough route planned, the main aim of the trip is to help out whenever and wherever they can.
The 23-year-olds, who are old friends, have each received medical training through different avenues.
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Mr Hennessey, who lives in London Road in Halesworth, has medical training through his time in search and rescue with the Royal Air Force and as a volunteer with the St John's Ambulance in Bungay.
Mr Sawkins, who now lives in Preston, works as a paramedic.
The ex-Halesworth Middle and Bungay High School students have both been to Africa before to provide aid and are passionate about helping the continent.
“We don't have money to give which is why we're giving our expertise and aid,” said Mr Hennessey. “It's something we've always wanted to do and something I'm really looking forward to. We just want to get stuck in as soon as possible.”
They are funding the trip themselves, but are still asking for sponsorship, which will go to the charity Against Malaria. They are hoping to raise �1,500 before they leave, which will buy 500 nets to be distributed in Africa.
Their route takes them from South Africa through Swaziland, Mozambique, Malawi, Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, and then finally into Kenya.
However they may have to avoid some of the countries in light of any political crises.
They estimate it will take around six to nine months to complete the journey and have been doing some light cycle training in preparation. Soon they will be tackling a 180-mile coast to coast cycle ride in the north that has been organised by Mr Sawkins' ambulance service in Preston.
They said that the main difficulty would not be fitness, but adapting to the very different climate and terrains that will change rapidly as they move up the coast.
They will be reporting on their trip as they go round, and hope to raise awareness of the projects they visit when they return to England.
Mr Hennessey and Mr Sawkins are looking for possible medical projects in east Africa to visit and help while on their trip. If you have any ideas you can contact Mr Hennessey via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Anyone wishing to sponsor them can do so at www.againstmalaria.com/eastafricacycle.