Our volunteer Camille helped out with Oxfam’s Trailtrekker fundraising event a couple of weeks ago. We asked her to write a bit about her experiences…

I recently volunteered for Oxfam’s Trailtrekker challenge up in the Yorkshire dales. It was amazing. Trailtrekker is a 100km challenge where groups of four have to cover the course in under 30 hours. It is in its third year, and everyone who takes part raises sponsorship money to help Oxfam’s activities around the world. Participants go past some stunning countryside such as Malham and Fountains Fell. There are four checkpoints and five water stations to support participants in this rewarding but tiring experience. This year, with over 170 teams, Oxfam is set to raise over £300,000.

I was stationed at Waterstop 5 near Hetton. I was Adrian Horton’s deputy co-ordinator for the second year running. We work well together; actually we have a blast! Adrian had his friends volunteer with us and he even brought some chilli along for us. There was a very nice atmosphere at our station and there was a bit of a social too. We played games while anxiously waiting for the participants. And they finally arrived!

The first group stopped at our station at 7.30pm!! This meant they had covered 90-odd kilometres in just over 12 hours. I remember them from last year when they had to pull out because one of their team members was unwell. They came back and were able to cross the finishing line in 16 hours and 15 minutes. May I also say that they were in very good shape.

There was a group headed by an Australian lady (also a regular at Trailtrekker) and one of their team members had flown all the way from Australia to take part. There was a man painted in blue with a white hat – he looked like a Smurf! The atmosphere was one of companionship and despite being tired, all the participants were extremely pleasant; it was great to be able to support them.

As volunteers we were there to cheer them on, support them, serve tea and cake and fill up their water bottles. I reckon my favourite task is greeting and clapping; I just find it amazingly brave that they will put themselves through such a challenge, be it for charity or just for a challenge. There were a couple of Red Cross first aid staff and a nurse in case anyone needed patching up. And some of them did. But overall, while many looked tired, most people had a smile on their face. It must be a great sense of achievement crossing that finishing line.

Up in Yorkshire, in the face of such physical challenges, Oxfam’s work might not be the first thing that comes to mind. But the money raised from this and similar events will go on to fund Oxfam’s projects throughout the world. Current emergencies that we are working with include the Ivory Coast situation where political turmoil has left many displaced and in need of basic assistance such as food and shelter, and Haiti, where last year’s earthquake and subsequent cholera have left the country urgent need of assistance. Of every £1 donated to Oxfam, 81p is directly invested in emergency, development or campaign work.

All in all, this was a great weekend. There was a sense of companionship and common purpose, and you get to meet amazing people.

To find out more about Trailtrekker, visit Oxfam’s dedicated site.


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