Friday, May 12, 2006

Kenya Update: Building on success

DES expeditions to Kenya started in 1999. Since then 7 student groups and 3 adult teams totalling 280 expeditioners have made a major impact in the Murugi location close to Mt. Kenya. As well as climbing Mt. Kenya to 16,355ft, River Rafting and Safaris in the Masai Mara the community project work has been remarkably successful.

The Baragu Health Centre has been open for 4 years now and 95% of the cost of the project has been donated by the Kenya expedition groups and the government have increased the nurse allocation to 7 to cope with the 100 patients a day who queue for treatment. Students on the Kenya expeditions have to commit to project fundraising and they have passed £45,000.

Budmouth Technology College students, parents and teachers have raised over half this total mainly through the efforts of the Duke of Edinburgh Award group and the Kenya Fundraising week – starting on 27th March – go along to support these events if you can.

2005 set a new record with 50 DES members going on the 2 expeditions to Kenya. One was a special team comprising students from Paignton Community College and South Devon College. South Devon College moved site at Xmas and the college Principal kindly donated large amounts of surplus equipment for our 3 supported schools in Kenya.

A sea container was loaded along with surplus books from Budmouth Technology College and the Easter 2006 adult group (team of 16) is going out to allocate the 4 tons of goods to Wiru Secondary, Wiru Primary and Gitare Primary Schools.

The global schools partnership between Budmouth Technology College and Wiru Secondary School was established 2 years ago and last summer Franklin Bundi, the Headteacher, visited Weymouth to further the link as well as participate in the Bridgenorth 22mile sponsored walk. He was really spying on our football training sessions but despite this our team won convincingly on Kenyan soil in August – maybe because the Kenyans were playing bare footed and we crippled a few!!!

A new link has now been created between St Johns Primary and Wiru Primary. John and Sally Horrell and Kimberley and Diamond Dukes are travelling out at Easter to develop the partnership. Josie Hastings and Kirsty Legg along with Budmouth Principal Dave Akers are also in the Easter team.

The Kenya 2006 team are well established and will again find themselves getting blisters from breaking rocks and mixing concrete for new classrooms as well as painting everything a delicate shade of Bermuda Blue!!!!

Plans are developing for 2007 and anyone interested in travelling to Kenya either for a short 2 week project based adult expedition at Easter or on the 4 week main DES trip in July/August is invited to give me a call on 01305 813012.

Martyn Hastings

New Trustee Colonel Brian R Anderson

Brian Anderson was born in Woking in October 1947. He was educated at Tonbridge and the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. He was commissioned with the 5th Royal Inniskilling Dragoon Guards in December, 1967. After serving in a wide variety of appointments in the UK, Germany, Northern Ireland, Canada, and Cyprus, he assumed Command of the Regiment in 1987. He also had a number of appointments away from the Regiment, including the Assistant MA to the Adjutant General. He was Equerry to HRH, the Prince of Wales between 1985 and 1987.

After three years in Command of his Regiment, he filled a number of training appointments before serving in Bosnia and MA to the Commander of Operations. He then spent three years as the Senior British Liaison Officer to the U.S. Army in Europe, subsequently finishing his career as the Garrison Command in Osnabruck, Germany in December 2003.
Brian now lives in Tarrant Keynston near Blandford with his wife, Joanne. He is employed part-time with a charity in Salisbury.

He is a keen sportsman and used to particularly enjoy playing rugby. His current interests include all field sports, equestrian activities, as well as gardening. He is also an avid fitness trainer at the local gym.

Snowdonia Charity Challenge 17 June 2006

Teams of four are invited to join this unique challenge to raise funds for REGAIN. The event is now in its sixth year.

The challenge starts in Llanberis from where teams set off on the first leg of a 40-mile circular cycling route around Snowdon.

Along the way they will have to climb Snowdon itself before completing the cycling section and heading for a grand finish across Lake Padarn in canoes.

Team members do not need canoe experience as rafted (roped together) Canadian canoes are used.

Three groups from Weymouth will be participating, this year. Dave Akers will be taking part, Mark Salmon is taking part in the Chesil team and Cat Freeman will be leading the Budmouth Technology College team.

Each team has to raise a minimum sponsorship of £1,800, so if you would like to contribute please contact the teams. Budmouth have a sponsorship website.

We wish them all the very best of luck!

Youth Matters

There is a whole raft of government initiatives currently rolling out of the
DFES. Besides the Manifesto for Education Outside the Classroom (see page 7) the
Green Paper on Youth: Youth Matters aims to ‘..address key issues on how we
support and challenge our teenagers’.

The Young Explorers’ Trust is playing a pivotal role in persuading the numerous government committees of the worth of expeditions. Clearly the Forum that meets regularly under its aegis is having an effect on current thinking. According to the YETNEWS, the Green Paper ‘..makes it clear that there is a wish to move outside the box of ‘youth work’ and increase opportunities for youngsters to be alive to exploring new ideas’.

The first of the four key aims is to ‘engage more young people in positive activities’. Results can
best be achieved by ‘involving a wide range of organisations from the voluntary, community and private sectors’

The Green Paper states that ‘teenagers, their parents, and communities all want more positive things to do, and better places to go for young people’. Societies such as the DES already do that as do its members acting independently or working in schools.

Interestingly enough, Local Authorities often seen by many in the expedition world as being too defensive or down right obstructive are now expected to come on board by taking a major role in ‘commissioning’ developments. They will be encouraged to fund young people directly through ‘opportunity cards’. Further more they should set up ‘opportunity funds’ to spend on projects. The government has pledged £40 million capital funding from April 2006 for creative strategic investment in new youth facilities. The document can be viewed online visit:

G4 Land Rover Challenge 2006

Known as ‘the ultimate adventure’, the G4 challenge offers men and women from
eighteen nations the opportunity to match strategy, stamina and skill in an
awesome 4x4 driving and multi-sport challenge. Working in bi-national teams,
competitors are matched against each other across four consecutive stages
spanning Southeast Asia and South America.

The 2006 Land Rover G4 Challenge promises to be tougher and more spectacular than ever. This time the action starts amongst the intensity of Bangkok city, and ends at high altitude on the plains of Bolivia. In between lie thousands of miles of vehicle-based adventure, strategy and sweat. At the end of it all waits a new Range Rover for the winner, and the knowledge that they completed a tough test of both body and mind for everyone who competed in the event.

Over ten thousand people applied over the world to take park and only fifty of the UK applicants made it to the National selection weekend on Saturday 19th Nov. One DES member was lucky enough to be amongst those chosen. Here is Ed Flower’s account of what happened.

The brief:

I was told to register on site at Ordnance Survey grid reference SP164821. I had to be at this location no earlier than 0700hrs, and no later than 0800hrs on Saturday the 19 November. Late arrivals would be turned away. I arrived at 0705hrs, fashionably late.
We had been told to be prepared for activities including running, camping overnight, navigating, obstacle courses, 4 x 4 driving, vehicle familiarisation, kayaking, climbing and physical aptitude. We would be pushed to the limit, physically challenged and mentally tested.

We spent Saturday doing activity after activity from 9am to 3pm. These ranged from mountain biking through rivers to mental aptitude tests. It was non-stop physical and mental torture. Ok torture may be a little strong, but it was tough. As the challenge unfolded the tasks became harder; by far the worst was running through a brown muddy river up to my waist with ice floating around me: it was very, very cold!

It took me back twelve years to that chilly winter weekend in South Wales when I did my selection weekend for the Dorset Expeditionary Society. At eighteen I had been fortunate enough to take part in a similar type of activity. On my selection weekend for Moonlands 1992, I had faced physical challenge as well - I recall jumping into a river in South Wales in December then. Believe it or not, the experience in South Wales set me up.

When the G4 selection staff told you to do something you just did it. You never asked why. At the end of the day how bad could it get? Would I die? Well it truly did get very bad but, WOW, what a weekend! The highlight for me was driving a Land Rover Defender 110 through a river. (A highlight for two reasons: firstly it was an awesome experience driving off-road and secondly because I sat in the cab for a fantastic warm twenty minutes without being shouted at to push harder or dig deeper).

As 3pm arrived, it came to make the split: twenty-five people would remain to continue through to the night challenge and twenty-five would be forced to leave.

The film crew arrived, eager to capture the moment and in true TV fashion the original group of fifty contenders was split in two. Then the announcement came. I did not make the final stage. However it did not matter. From over 1,200 I had made the last fifty who could represent their county in one of the worlds toughest adventure races. I met some amazing people, some of the best adventure racers in the UK. I got to compete against them.

It was an amazing weekend that to be honest would never have been possible without the Dorset Expeditionary Society. Being able to list expeditions to India ,(92), Pyreness (94) and Ecuador (02, 05) on my application undoubtedly put me in contention. So a big thanks to all!!!….

Ed Flower