Back at the start of July 2015 at a charity night to celebrate the people who had raised funds for SNAP (Special Needs Adventure Playground) a charity for children with special needs! I couldn’t help my mind ticking away at how I could help this fantastic cause, it kept going over and over at what I could do to help them!
My two daughters are service users at Snap and to see this place buzzing with children and young adults that just want to be treated the same as everyone else where they are not going to be ridiculed for being different!
Snap was 13 years old at the time and had constant use all year round other than the four days a year it closes. I kept seeing duck tape appearing on the soft play area after 13 years it was taking some hammering. So I asked how much a new soft play was and I was shocked to hear it was £25k.
I kept thinking and suddenly remembered I had seen a photo of a Wheeled excavator on social media had gone from John O’Groats to lands end to raise money for a charity for people with heart conditions . That was it and I knew what I could do for Snap to try and help them raise money towards the replacement soft play. Being a plant operator I decided I was going to drive a digger from John O’Groats to Lands end.
I teamed up with UK Plant operators to get my story out there and they loved the idea! So we decided to call the project Ripping up the UK. We wanted this to be a project where we could bring the plant industry together to help the charity get what they so desperately deserve! First things first we needed a digger, so we approached BCP Caterpillar at Desford in Leicester and they welcomed the idea with open arms “Er can we have a digger to drive a thousand miles for charity ?”
The hard work Started at this point the Facebook page and website was up and running and gaining steady momentum . But the nights up planning got harder after a days work! We carried on and we had a phone call, Caterpillar where going to let us use the one of a kind CAT 432F2 the 30th anniversary Back hoe loader. Now the project was in full swing and Ripping up the UK was born!
So please follow our story as we travel from John O’Groats to Lands end to make some special children smile you can help us to by donating! Every penny helps we have a long way to go and a lot of hard work ahead. I’m Gavin I’m Ripping up the UK are you ?
We were first inspired to break this record after seeing the famous Record breakers attempt on Tv in the 90’s, involving the famous Hugh Edeleanu from H E Service with his JCB Land shuttle and a staggering result of 877 miles in a speedy 22hrs 10 mins, with lots of other attempts being made in other machines including the Mason Brothers and Esmor’s JCB Marathon.
This was certain the challenge for us, after getting the ball rolling our original plan was to beat the record that Hugh set, but unfortunately with the amount of modifications needed it became way out of reach for us, and with today’s traffic and health and safety we wanted to set a realistic safe record that will encourage others to challenge our time in the future without massive costs and to bring a bit of sportsmanship back to the challenge.
So we have come up with our own attempt on setting a record, we will attempt to drive a standard Caterpillar 444 Back hoe loader kindly donated for this challenge by Caterpillar Visitors Centre without any modifications what so ever from John O’ Groat’s to Lands End, this is a journey where we will average a speed of about 18 mile an hour 877 miles should take us with breaks and fuel stops 55 hrs Along the way we will be stopping at designated areas for fund raising, photo opportunity’s and collecting sponsors, donations for a charity close our hearts SNAP a 13 year established soft play facility for children and adults with severe learning difficulties, which has now become in major need of renovation we aim to raise a whopping £25,000 for this.