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Week 14 > December 3rd 2002
Outside the Reform Club > London
A few words from Adventure
Leader Robin Dunseath
December 3rd-the final day of a two and a half year
dream-and London is smiling on us. I wake up at 6:30
am, gulp down a cup of coffee and put on
the Phileas Fogg outfit for the last time-the top
hat, now battered but proud, the black flowing coat,
seams coming undone, white shirt, cravate,
black trousers, socks and shoes. I go out of the hotel
and round the corner and there it is-the space shuttle
which is to take us back to the Reform Club on our
eightieth way. Made by Smurfit Europe, who also made
the cardboard boat in the Liffey in Ireland, it is
Back in the hotel, the team is waiting for me-the
adventurers of Mike, Miles and Caroline, Project Director
Mary Donaldson who has done such a magnificent management
job setting up the adventure, team manager Jon Cook
looking more and more like Indiana Jones each day,
Aoife, our journalist and Mike Macnamara our cameraman.
Mary, Aoife and Mike Macnamara set off for the Reform
Club, the rest of us board the shuttle.
We planned it would take one hour to get us from
our hotel to the Reform Club, allowing for Christmas
traffic. But there was no Christmas traffic and it
took only fifteen minutes! So for three quarters of
an hour, we sat at the side of the road, and drank
coffee. Then Mary called us in on mission control
and said all was ready so slowly and regally, we pulled
up in front of the crowd outside the Reform Club -
Sir Jimmy Savile stood on the road and greeted us,
behind him on the steps of the club, Stan Todd of
Rolls Royce, Sir Tom Farmer, standing next to Tony
Blair's representative Mr. Ian McCartney, the
Minister of Pensions and Works and Doris Ho from the
Hong Kong Jockey club made up the welcome party, along
with friends and family come to greet our return..
It is time for me to read out the proclamation of
success, so I gather all the team beside me, read
out the words ending that "The bet is won"
and then, holding each other and to an enormous cheer,
we go through the ribbon to complete the adventure.
We have done it!
Then it is off to the Clifton Ford Hotel in London
for the celebration luncheon starting with champagne
provided by Rolls Royce. Doris Ho, over from Hong
Kong and speaking on behalf of the many charities
we have helped, makes an emotional speech, ending
suddenly to avoid crying! Tim Haddock, flown over
from Northern Ireland, sings his own composition "Around
the World" and gets a standing ovation, Jimmy
Spankie from Scotland interviews the team and Sir
Tom Farmer concludes by reminding the team of the
astonishing adventure that they have accomplished
and pointing out that in time they will become legends.
Fifteen countries, over eighty means of transport,
just under ninety speeches, a lot of money raised
for charities around the world, many lives impacted,
countless television, radio and newspaper interviews
completed and the team home safe, sound, and with
the challenge accomplished. That is some adventure.
So who do I thank for making my dream come true?
Where do I start? With
Jules Verne, who wrote the original, without which
I could not have had the idea? With the support team
of Mary Donaldson Project Director and Stuart Nussey
Route Director who, because they were mostly in the
background, did not always get the credit they deserved?
With the remarkable adventurers of Mike, Miles and
Caroline, who accomplished the impossible on so many
occastions? With manager Jon Cook who once hopefully
asked me for a job description and quickly realised
it was to do what needed doing. Then there is the
remarkable media duo of Aoife and Mike, and how sad
that illness prevented Aoife from completing the whole
trip-and Mike who in between taking film, became a
wonderful helper for the team..
Let's not forget the sponsors, like Sir Tom Farmer
whose immense support opened so many doors, Stan Todd
of Rolls Royce, who again opened so many doors and
lent us our manager, the RNIB for lending us Miles,
Smurfitt and the team from Smurfitt for their wonderful
ingenuity with the boat and the space shuttle as well
as financial support and Hewlett Packard our technology
sponsors, my thanks also go to Shakira for managing
our website.... and many others.
We must also remember the many project managers around
the world, all volunteers, all wonderfully warm people
who were inspirational to us all and each of them
tasked to making the project work in their own countries.
In fact, there are so very many people to thank-
It is my fervent hope that everyone who came into
contact with Around the World in Eighty Ways feels
that in helping us, they have helped hundreds of thousands
of people around the world.
The project was all about being positive and refusing
to take no for an answer, and I will close with my
favourite quote given to me by Miles, whom I regarded
as our philosopher.
"Those who think it is impossible
should not interrupt
those who are doing it."
Around the World in Eighty Ways was an adventure
in exploring the impossible. And we all did it.
Now all I want for Christmas is a copy of Jules Verne's
book Journey to the
Centre of the Earth-anyone care to send me a copy?