The Great Escape

On Sunday 18th March the excited 8 met up for a magnificent 7 in the cafe before embarking on their challenge. They had 24 hours to get as far away from the Tesco store in Thetford, Norfolk with only £25 each to help them on their way.

Traveling in pairs David Granger & Brendon Kelly, Spencer Derham & Andrew Lee, Charmaine Cox & Phil Atkinson, Linda Eagle & Maxine Howe were about to rise to the test and use their people skills of influencing, begging and flirting (ask Brendon) to afar.

As it turned out 3 of the pairs found themselves heading towards London within the hour via car, bus or lorry and only Maxine and Linda heading North to Nottingham on the train, dodging the ticket collector as they had no tickets. There had been a great deal of rivalry about who would get furthest so when David and Brendon found themselves at Heathrow the plan was to leave the country by plane however 2 hours later they were Brighton bound on a JetLink bus!

Buses linked the other London bound teams as Spencer and Andrew got another freebie and were going in the direction of the west country and Bristol while Phil and Charmaine were Dover bound and looking to cross the channel.

While all this was going on Maxine and Linda were gently coaxing two British Rail employees into giving them free rail tickets instead of having to avoid the guards). At this stage we do not have a very clear picture of how exactly the tickets were obtained but needless to say their powers of persuasion worked wonders and they had 2 return tickets to Cardiff the race was on…

After numerous text messages and calls Spencer and Andrew seem to be in the lead as not only had they conquered Bristol they were targeting the English Riviera and Basil Fawlty country in search of his hotel for evening meal and B&B. Charmaine and Phil scored a winner after explaining to some Sea France personnel they blagged 2 free return tickets to France and succeeded in leaving the country and were to spend the night in Calais. With the all girl pairing coming to rest in Cardiff the Senior Management were not going to be beaten and it was decided that a local bus from Brighton to Portsmouth Ferry terminal where they would catch the crossing to Caen and so to leaving the country.

On reaching our final destinations no team spent over their allowance and in fact Maxine and Linda managed to get back to Thetford and still count the change. On route all managed to either hitch lifts, fare dodge (not recommended), blag free bus/ferry tickets, free drinks in Burger King or get half price accommodation.

The criteria was that all teams had to phone the store between 9-9.30 am on the Monday all just about to managed this however Brendon and David had to do so from the bridge of their ferry as no other phones were working!

So to the final destinations Brendon & David got to Caen, France; Spencer & Andrew got to Torquay, Maxine and Linda got to Cardiff, and Phil & Charmaine got to Calais. The journey home was much quicker and more expensive but a good 2 days was had by all that took part and in years to come the stories will still be going strong.

The event was to raise money for charity and the two chosen charities C.R.Y and MacMillan Cancer should benefit to the tune of £500 each.

We would all like to thank people who took time to sponsor, feed, help and support us because without your invaluable help this experience would not have happened.