Friday, 16 October 2009

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Role of Honour

This is a list of all the people who have already sponsored us or have given us great support.
Both myself and Christopher would like to thank you.

1. Emily Cagle from set up our blog & just giving page and loads of support. x

2. Sara Brown from for designing our logo and print material x

3. Maple Solicitors LLP Grant Shackleston from for sponsoring my new bike and safety gear. (and Lycra shorts hehe)

4. Hotpoint for a new washing machine worth £500.00 ( to be raffled soon)

5. Lava Ignite Nightclub Northampton for sponsoring our launch party.

6. Lockwood Kapper Relocation's for sponsoring Christopher's bike.

7. Agean Thompson from for a great donation.

8. Gary Gorman from for 2 training places worth £300

9. Bombshell academy from for a day at the academy worth £250

10. Amanda Anderson from for sponsoring our sun glasses and fund raising for us

11. for a full networking membership passport worth £490

12. Paul at Terry Write cycles for help support and massive discount on bike and equipment worth £150

13. Lisa Blackler from Honesty Marketing


Training Diary

OK it's October 25th 2009 and I have 12 months almost to the day to go from a very very unfit 18 stone lump to a being fit enough to bike 660km across Vietnam.

Not been on a bike for around 20 years but collected my new bike today. (Sponsored by Maples Solicitor's of Spalding)

so we start training here..

day one 15th oct 09:- set bike up put on some strange shorts with pads in the crutch and I rode 5 miles. Chris went with me to make sure i did it.

17th Oct 09 well did another 5.5 miles. bum already a little tender, needs to get used to that. The little trip computer is like a clock, never moves when your watching it, so will have to stop checking it every 200yds and hoping that it will say another mile done.
weather a bit cooler today, winter soon be here oh Joy, not..

24th Oct 09 Been hard to find time this week to get on me bike but been out and done another 5 miles ish and found it harder than last time but then it was a bit windy.

7th Nov 09 Well not been out for a while and really need to get an exercise bike..
Went for a bike ride this morning a beautiful sunny Saturday morning. I followed a cycle path which took me through the village of Eye and then down past a lovely lake (which i didn't know was there) around the lake was off road which was great no traffic or people. then across some fields back to the roads behind the industrial est. from there back up to my area and home.
It clock on my little computer that I'd done just over 11 miles so pleased with myself. just doubled my last ride in one.

CHRISTOPHER'S STORY how I broke my back

This is the first time I’ve really opened up about this, so I’m just going to start from the beginning. I have always liked camping but my mum and dad never let me go, so on several occasions I told them I was sleeping at my friends Ben’s. He was always allowed to go so his parents knew where we were going, the other member of the team was Matt, he was new to our regular trips. Matt told his mum we were camping but he added a small detail and said my dad was coming too, his mum has never met my dad so I’m sure she believed that without doubt.

So… we got our things together, I made it look like a normal bag of things I would take to stop at a friends, little did they know it contained beans, hot dogs and all sorts of camping essentials. So I had my beans, tent, water and cigarettes, oh mum and dad didn’t know about that either. We got to the camp site which happened to be a field behind Summerfield garage with a few trees between us and the parkway (dual carriageway) on one side and a land field site on the other, That’s what I call my perfect campsite.

I set up the tent while Ben and Matt started getting firewood, we sat around a heap of wood waiting for it to get dark talking crap carving sticks and smoking cigarettes without being told we shouldn’t be doing it, I wonder why I like camping. It started to get dark so Ben decided to light the fire; he took the lighter and started lighting bits of paper to get it going. He did this until we had no paper left. Matt took up the challenge using the same method as Ben only using our toilet roll and failing. Matt left us without any toilet roll and still no fire, with that I went over to a small dyke that came from the land field site and pulled up some fluffy reed like things. I took them to the fire pit, put them under the some twigs and lit them, the fire started. When it got a bit later and darker the fire got bigger. It was hard to keep it going because as soon as we got wood it went straight on the fire. Ben came over with a branch that was still green; it was some kind of fur tree. Matt told Ben that it wouldn’t burn but he dumped it on anyway, the branch took to the fire and up it went with a mighty raw, it only lasted a few seconds but it got the fire going a treat. The three of us went to get more and more of this fur tree and the fire got bigger and bigger, we started jumping over the flames but the fire got so big we were jumping though the flames rather than over them. We quickly ran out of the fur tree but we had plenty of wood as we had dragged a fallen tree over earlier that night. But that wasn’t good enough for me so I went to find more fur tree.

It was about nine o’clock I went over to the patch of trees where we had gotten the fur tree from, I looked around but couldn’t find any. Then I came across a slim fur tree and I remember thinking that’s skinny enough to snap, so I climbed up the tree thinking it wasn’t that tall little did I know it was about 15 feet tall and I was at the top. I started hanging from the tree, which bent but didn’t break. I pulled harder and it finally snapped and I started to fall, It all went in slow motion it felt like I was going to be falling forever, when I finally hit the ground I knew instantly what had happened. My legs just flopped into a pile, I can’t describe the sensation of not being able to move or even feel your legs. But one thing I can say is it was the most terrifying time of my life. When I realized that feeling wasn’t coming back I started to call for help, shouting Ben and Matt. They didn’t come over so I called again and again still nothing, I was starting to become scared that they couldn’t hear me then I saw them coming over I called them so they could find me. They came over and saw me lying there and said what’s wrong? I told them I cant move my legs I just fell out of that tree, I cant feel my legs call me an ambulance they both just said are you being serious? I shouted yes call me an ambulance. This went on for a while then Matt said before I call this ambulance tell me your not joking so I just screamed at him I cant feel my f*****g legs now call me a f*****g ambulance. Funnily enough he did. When I started to calm down the pain started to kick in, and my god that was the worse pain I had ever felt and have felt since. The ambulance was on the way, Ben went to go and meet it at the garage and Matt stayed with me. This is were the memory gets a bit patchy but about 5 mins went by and matt’s phone started ringing. It was his mum checking that every thing was ok, remember she thinks my dad is there, the truth soon comes out. Matt asks her to ring my mum and tell her what had happened and to meet us at the hospital. More time went past still no ambulance and I started to get tired and quiet so Matt kept me talking. The next thing I remember is the sound of Ben’s voice and a really bright light coming towards us, it was the paramedics, I just remember thinking thank god they’re here. They assessed the situation; this part is very hard to remember. But what I can remember is being strapped on to a spinal board extremely tightly with twigs sticking into my back, the parts I could feel anyway. The buckles on the straps digging into my chest, not the most comfortable thing ever and that big yellow neck support on my head squeezing my face it was horrid. They all carried me across the field to the ambulance and put me in the back. We later discovered that my sister happened to be in the garage getting fuel at the time but didn’t see that it was me the ambulance was there for, which is strange because she is normally the first person to be nosey.

The ambulance ride took so long as they were driving very slowly to make sure they didn’t jolt my back and make it worse. I was thinking the whole trip to the hospital about what my mum was going to say and how scared I was. We finally got there and Ben said Chris your mums here, with that I burst into tears. They pulled me out the back of the ambulance and the first thing I saw was my mum standing there. The first thing I said was I’m sorry mum, I’m so sorry. She just reassured me and said stop it you don’t have anything to be sorry for. They took me into the hospital got me off the spinal board and on to a bed. A nurse said to me we’re just going to give you something for the pain, she asked me on a scale of 1 to 10 how much pain are you in? I told her 10 she injected me with morphine which felt great, she asked me again so I told her 10 she gave me some more. I can’t really remember anything after that, except that the pictures on the ceiling were moving. I went for several CT scans, MRI scans and X Rays and they finally discovered that I had broken my back in three places and that I had compressed my spinal cord. When I got the news the first thing I said was will I ever walk again? They said we can’t really say for sure but it’s very unlikely. I replied with yes I will.

So they shipped me off to Addenbrooke’s hospital Cambridge to have my operation. The next thing I remember was waking up there the next day. I had to wait for a couple of days before my operation, in this time I was starting to get some feeling and movement back around my chest. This was very exciting but I wasn’t allowed out of bed so I got very frustrated, as I was desperate for a shower. I was still picking bit of tree out of my hair for Christ sake; problem was I couldn’t move a thing below my chest. Anyway the day of my operation was here; I got prepped for my operation that would decide my fate. I was lying there with the nurses’ doctors around me they put the anaesthetic in my arm and that was it my spine was in their hands.

Part two to follow. will write it over next few days but it is difficult as it is bringing so many emotions to the surface along with the memories... watch this space.....

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Just Giving

If you would like to support us then you can donate by using the just giving website.

many thanks for your support
Gary and Christopher




It's going to be great.
When? 31st October 09 Halloween
You do you get? Entry with bubbly on arrival, buffet & chocolate fountain, entry in to club night, the ticket money goes to the charity
come along and meet loads of people and have a fantastic fun time.
Fancy dress is an option but would be fun
What a great night we had!!!

Monday, 12 October 2009

So what's on the itinerary in Vietnam

day 3 Mai Chau Valley
day 4 moc chau

DAY 1: Depart London for Hanoi
DAY 2: Arrive Hanoi; afternoon exploring this wonderful city
DAY 3: Transfer out of city; cycle undulating roads through valleys to Mai Chau bike 50km
DAY 4: Challenging day climbing to tea plantation village of Moc Chau bike 70km DAY 5: Easier day; spectacular scenery of karst cliffs and rice paddies to Son La bike 120km
DAY 6: Through hill-tribe villages; steep climbs and long descent to Tuan Giao bike 90km
DAY 7: Cycle through quiet, easy backroads through spectacular gorges to Dien Bien Phu
DAY 8: Follow Na river through lush jungle and bamboo landscapes to Lai Chau bike100km
DAY 9: Rolling ungraded roads to sleepy town of Tam Duong bike 100km
DAY 10: Most spectacular scenery of trip; final climbs and long descent into Sapa bike 50km
DAY 11: Free to explore Sapa; overnight train to Hanoi
DAY 12: Free time in Hanoi; flight to UK
DAY 13: Arrive London

Thats 660km!!!!!

cushions on that chair please..
A massive thank you from Christopher and me for setting this up for us


Emily Cagle Communications
Tel: 0845 259 0214
Mobile: 07777 680 547

WHY? WHAT? & WHEN? Gary's story

Ever since I announced that I will be cycling across Vietnam, people have kept asking me, "What! Why Vietnam? Why you doing it?"

What are we going to do?

My son and I are going to cycle across Vietnam to raise money for the unit that helped him walk again. We'll be cycling approximately 640km in an attempt to raise £10,000 for the children’s ward at Stoke Mandeville's Spinal Unit.

Why am I doing it?

Well, my reasons are simple. A few years ago, I went through the worst few months of my life as I watched my son - who was the cheekiest little sod and always on the go, suddenly have his life as he knew it completely stopped dead. Suddenly, after a seemingly minor accident, he was paralysed from the mid chest area down and top surgeons were telling me that he wasn’t expected to improve.

After that, I was the most excited man in the world when I saw the smallest twitch of one of his toes. He always was a head strong boy and, unlike me, never accepted that he was never going to walk.

Well, after meeting the staff on the children’s ward at Stoke Mandeville's Spinal Unit, I instantly changed my mind. The energy and belief they have is endless. I’ve been in dozens of hospitals and that ward is unlike any I’ve ever been in. It doesn’t feel like a hospital ward at all. It doesn’t look like one, and they don’t treat you like faceless patients - they really do want to give you every chance to get the best from your situation.

They listened to me and Christopher's mum and found out about him as an individual, and not just the next patient in a long line of patients. I was blown away with the dignity they gave Christopher and us. They encouraged Christopher to push himself and after an amazingly short time he was doing tricks in his wheel chair. he even managed to make it down to the pub, two miles down the road from the hospital (and boy did we get an ear bashing about that from the ward manager for that one!).

After a few long months Christopher walked out of the hospital against all the odds and beliefs of even the top specialists. We were in the Spinal Unit's café one day when we were joined by Sir Jimmy Saville (who had tea and toast). If you don't already know, the spinal unit wouldn't be what it is without the help of Sir Jimmy who has raised millions for them. At that point, I promised I’d raise money to help repay the debt we felt we had to this special place. Not that I could ever put a price on the fact that Christopher can not only now walk but also join me on this massive challenge.

Why Vietnam?

Those who know me best will know that I like to take a plunge with both feet and this time I certainly have. To cycle across Vietnam is the biggest challenge I could find to honour the efforts Christopher and the staff of the spinal unit put in. The journey would be a challenge for anyone, but particularly for me as I don't even have a bike, not have I been on one for 20 years! I am unfit and overweight, so this is a big challenge to every part of me and my lifestyle.

As soon as Christopher learned about the event, (surprise, surprise) he announced that he wanted to come along, too. This will be a massive challenge for him.


Well we have 12 months to do this. We'll be setting off on 30th October 2010 and completing our journey on 11th November 2010. I will be getting my bike next week and will be putting together a training programme. Then it's a case of getting on my bike and getting fit. Christopher will also be training hard but even after all he's been through, he still has a head start on me, being loads younger and a bit fitter...

How you can help

Raising £10,000 is no small target. In the coming days, we'll be posting a link to our Just Giving page where you can make donations. Every penny will help. This blog will also be the place to visit for info on forthcoming fund raising events leading up to our trip, so please subscribe to make sure you stay in the loop.