University students and staff raise £3,000 for ShelterBox in 230-mile relay around Cornwall’s coast

Over Saturday 20th and Sunday 21st May, more than 70 students and staff volunteers from the University of Exeter Cornwall Campus and Falmouth University took part in a man-powered, non-stop, relay challenge around the Cornish Coast, raising over £3,000 for the disaster relief charity, Shelterbox.

The event, Rally4ShelterBox 2017, is student-led and run by the Falmouth & Exeter Students’ Union (FXU) Geography Society. The Rally is a relay split in to 23 grueling legs, which participants either run, jog, walk, row, kayak, cycle or swim.

The team set off in style on Saturday morning at 7am with a fleet of boats from Nankersey Rowing Club and FXU Sailing Club over to St Mawes, where they handed over the event baton, a bottle of Cornwall’s finest from the event sponsors Skinner’s Brewery. From there the Betty Stogs baton headed along the south coast, past Looe and up to the Jamaica Inn to pass over Bodmin Moor. Through the night, the team continued from Bostcastle, through the toughest and most undulating of parts of the coastline to Godrevy, where the baton was once again cast out to sea for the first leg on Sunday morning, with Falmouth Student Kayak Club, who carried it through the surf over to St Ives. The team continued to run and cycle their way around West Penwith, past the iconic sites of Land’s End, the Minack Theatre and around the Lizard Peninsular. The baton took its final dip in Helford Estuary where swimmers brought it back into touching distance of Falmouth. The rally finally came to an exhausting but successful end at The Front, Custom House Quay, Falmouth at 7pm on Sunday evening, having raised a great amount of funds and awareness for ShelterBox.

Hand over the Betty Stogs baton at Bowithick Fords, Bodmin. From Left, Catherine Baldwin, Sarah Slaughter, Sinead Sewell, Hannah Johnson

The event wouldn’t have been possible without the support of the kind sponsors, Skinner’s Brewery, Enterprise Rent-a-Car and Audi UK, and the support from the Cornish community has been phenomenal, with harbor master escorts, free ferry passage and waves of support the whole way round.

This year the event gained great celebrity support for the likes of Joanna Lumley, Ben Fogle, Steve Backshaw and Sir Chris Hoy.

Joanna Lumley: “ShelterBox is a completely brilliant charity. It does what it says on the tin and has been thought out with immense care and is hugely effective in every way. And now ‘Rally4ShelterBox’ is giving us all a chance to support a relay race of questionable sanity and utter fabulousness to raise funds for the most needy people on earth. It’s thrilling to know that students and the local community joined forces to make this event a staggering success. I send all my cheers and hurrahs.”

Jake Dowling, FXU Geography Society President and Event Coordinator: “A weekend like no other; a chance to see amazing people pushed to their limits all for ShelterBox! From the 3am runs to the four-hour hikes, everyone has exceeded themselves! A massive thanks to all who got involved organising, driving, supporting and, of course, our main sponsors Skinners Brewery, who, along with Audi, Enterprise and the Front, were on board from day one, despite the craziness of the event! So, shall we do rally every weekend?!”

Amanda Chewynd-Cowieson, FXU President Student Experience and Rally4ShelterBox Alumna: “I’ve been lucky enough to have been involved in several Rally4ShelterBox relays over the years and it’s been truly wonderful to see it return with such force and energy this year! All the students who were behind this fantastic and challenging weekend should be so proud of themselves; there are few things we like more at FXU than when our members choose to fundraise for local Cornish charities, so to see the total currently passing £3,000 is utterly fantastic. Huge congratulations to everyone involved!”

There is still time for more people to get involved by donating £3 through texting GEOG90 to 70070. All details can be found on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, just search ‘Rally4ShelterBox 2017’. Alternatively, people can contact tk310@exeter.ac.uk or jrtd201@exeter.ac.uk.

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