37,000 mile Cycle for ShelterBox

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37,000 mile Cycle for ShelterBox
37000 Miles Cycled for ShelterBox. Photo taken in Botswana - Tim Bridgman

Just over 4 years ago, on June 4th 2012 Devon couple Sharon and Tim Bridgman set off from the North Cape of Norway to cycle unsupported and self-funded on 4 continents. The first part of their dream, which they called North2North, was to cycle from the Arctic Circle in Norway through Eastern Europe and East Africa to Cape Town, passing through 23 countries and covering 15,939 miles. They then headed to Ushuaia at the Southern end of Argentina and rode north passing through Chile and Argentina before reaching Bolivia, expecting to bring the country count to 32, and reach a staggering total of 37,000 miles as they headed north again, crossing from South to Central and then North America, aiming to re-enter the Arctic Circle in Alaska.

On April 26th 2014 tragedy struck as they neared the Chilean border on Bolivia’s barren Uyuni salt flats. Sharon was hit by a 4×4 – the first vehicle they had seen that day – and killed instantly. Having such a love for life and everyone she met Tim was devastated at the loss of his wife and best friend. Having the desire to continue to help a charity as important as ShelterBox became even more important with so many losing the ones closest to them in an instant from natural disaster and civil unrest.

Tim says, ‘The accident reminds you that you can lose all that in an instant. Mentally I needed to go back and finish what we started. After Sharon’s death I went back home and wasn’t prepared to be back there without her. I had left my bike in Bolivia because I knew that I would be back.’

Now, having completed the remaining 15,000 miles on his own, Tim Bridgman crossed the finishing line last week at Prudhoe Bay in Alaska. It was a bittersweet moment. He told i newspaper’s Genevieve Roberts, ‘Sharon had every bit of strength I did and she should have been there too. I took a bottle of bubbly, but didn’t feel like jumping with joy.’

Nancy Dodge, a ShelterBox ambassador in Alaska, joined Tim for the last leg, helping to sort permissions to cross the oil fields. Together they put up a ShelterBox tent on the shores of Prudhoe Bay, certainly the most northerly site ever used in the charity’s 16 year history. He and Sharon have managed to raise an astonishing $38,000 in the US plus £20,000 overseas for the charity’s disaster relief work – far above their original $18,000 target.

ShelterBoxLogoTim is being joined in Alaska by friends from England, and will take a vacation with them before returning home. ‘Tim and Sharon have been an inspiration to countless people along the way with their story of hope, loss, courage, and fortitude. We are honoured by their dedicated effort and congratulate Tim for completing his journey,’ said ShelterBox USA president Kerri Murray.

Tim says, ‘What compelled us around ShelterBox was that it didn’t matter who you were, where you came from, the organization helps people who have lost everything in an instant. So many charities waste money and resources, and you never really know where the donations are going.

But with ShelterBox, you see so many people around the world who have lost everything in a crisis, benefiting from the work of the organisation.’

More of the story is available online.

 

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