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Meet the team – Sarah Fairhead

Sarah Fairhead joined the Charity Challenge team in early 2018 as a Charity and Corporate Account Manager. She plays a vital role in the team, looking after all the wonderful charities and corporates that Charity Challenge is honoured to partner with. Her day to day involves working with key clients to ensure the smooth delivery of their events. We borrowed five minutes of Sarah’s time to find out what she’s enjoyed from her time at Charity Challenge so far.

Sarah Fairhead, Charity Challenge Charity and Corporate Account Manager, at Machu Picchu in Peru

Name: Sarah Fairhead

Location: London, UK

How long have you been working at Charity Challenge?
9 months and loving it!

Tell us a little bit about your background and what you did before joining Charity Challenge? Sarah Fairhead, Charity Challenge Charity and Corporate Account Manager, at Kilimanjaro in Tanzania
I grew up in Hertfordshire and have always been into the great outdoors, I would much rather be camped under the stars than in a 5 star hotel! After many trips hiking UK and European mountains decided to take on my next challenge – Kilimanjaro. Raising money for a local charity and seeing how much hard work they do I decided Charity Challenge was where I needed to be.

What’s your favourite Charity Challenge expedition?
Too many… I would love to experience them all. Patagonia, Trek Transylvania and the Dalai Lama Himalayan Trek would be up there though! The great thing about the challenges are that there is such a wide range that not only challenge and reward you physically but also mentally and emotionally.

What do you enjoy most about your job?
Doing something that I love and working with a product I believe in. I remember the overwhelming sense of achievement I felt on my Kilimanjaro journey and to now be part of a team helping others to reach their goals while raising money for charity is just as incredible.
A highlight of my time with Charity Challenge would be trekking in Peru last October on our Trek to Machu Picchu. We didn’t see any other trekkers for 3 days so felt totally remote. Arriving at Sun Gate as a team felt amazing, the views were also incredible every step of the way (all 3,000 of them!)

Sarah Fairhead, Charity Challenge Charity and Corporate Account Manager, at Machu Picchu in Peru

What advice would you give someone who is looking to do a Charity Challenge?
Train, fundraise and enjoy yourself! This isn’t going to be a holiday, but it will be a truly amazing experience. Think of some quirky fundraising ideas and start these early on to raise as much for your chosen charity as possible. Also make sure to wear any new boots in before your challenge!

How many countries have you visited?
Around 20… Not nearly enough! I am very lucky to have friends in the French Alps so have enjoyed many years in the mountains hiking, climbing and swimming in freezing cold lakes!

What’s your favourite cuisine?
Mexican – The hotter the better!

What three things can’t you live without?
Music, a book, laughing

Tell us an interesting fact about yourself…
When I was quite young I was in a marching band – I played the Glockenspiel!

The Best of 2018 – from the Charity Challenge Leaders

Leaders are the heart and soul of any Charity Challenge event. They laugh with you, cry with you, push you to achieve things you never thought you could, and celebrate with you. It takes a very special person to be a leader on a Charity Challenge event.

Looking back on 2018, these are the moments that hold a special place in the hearts of the Charity Challenge leaders. Read on to find out from your favourite leader what made 2018 awesome.

Ian – Trek Transylvania

Trek Transylvania with Charity Challenge

Over the last 12 months or so I have developed something of a specialism for the Transylvania Trek – which is a great short itinerary challenge. In July 2018 I was delighted to be a leader on the Coppafeel “Trek Transylvania Challenge”. I helped almost 60 challengers reach the summit of one of Romania’s highest peaks at 2200m – Batrana (The Old Lady). This trip offers spectacular views, picture-postcard alpine villages, acres of colourful meadows, friendly locals and rugged mountains, along the possibility of spotting brown bears, lynx, wild boars and wolves! Throw in a visit to Dracula’s Castle in Bran too and you have a very special challenge indeed – I love it!

John – Great Wall Discovery Challenge

China Great Wall Discovery Charity Challenge

In 2018, I was lucky enough to be a leader on the Great Wall Discovery Trek. What a great experience it was for me and the group! As with all Charity Challenge treks, you meet amazing people, doing amazing things for charities. This was no different. Not only did I get to meet some great people, but I also  trekked on five sections of the Great Wall with incredible views.

The areas we visited were steeped in history. Each day we arriveed at our inn to see great local culture and eat lovely local food.

It’s hard to say what my favourite day was as they were all amazing. The final day does stand out; we stopped for lunch and the group congratulated each other on all the hard work each person had put in to complete the challenge. The group took the time to look around and take in the amazing scenery. We knew we had shared experiences that would make us friends for life.

Colin – North South Vietnam Cycle

North to South Vietnam Cycle with Charity Challenge

My favourite challenge during 2018 was cycling across Vietnam. The trip offered lots of diversity from the empty beaches, beautiful cities and lovely scenery. The history and culture is very interesting and the people are generally very friendly and welcoming. The cycling is really varied. Riding around busy cities with lots of other cycles and scooters is very different and entertaining. The riding along the costal roads can be very hard particularly with the heat and if you’re riding into a headwind. The 9kms of continual climbing up the Hai Van Mountain Pass is really challenging but a 10km descent on good roads is the reward for all your hard work.

Overall a lovely country to cycle in and a place that I keep getting drawn back to.

Ray – Great Wall Discovery Challenge

China Great Wall Discovery Challenge with Charity Challenge

The most rewarding and challenging challenge I’ve ever lead has to be guiding “Blind Dave” as he is known as, on the Albion Foundation Great Wall Challenge in 2018.

Guiding him up and down the steep terrain on the wall in all it’s states of restoration was a challenge within the challenge. He was an inspiration to us all as he tackled crumbling steps, the steep paths amongst thorned bushes and the slippery paved sections without so much as a single complaint. For most people this is quite a challenge but for someone with no sight just imagine how difficult it must have been for him. With his wife and family with us I learned a lot from them about guiding someone who is blind. Having to describe the paths and our surroundings also helped me take in more of the challenge than I have ever done on my previous two occasions.

Our team of local leaders ensured everything went smoothly from checking into our rooms, organising each day on the wall and having that all important celebratory meal on the final night. It was a challenge I shall always remember.

Penny – Trek Patagonia

Waking from a restless sleep, I was aware of my nose being numb from the cold while I lay warm in my sleeping bag. I had strongly recommended digging dig and getting up at 5am to enjoy the sunrise in this spectacular location. I hoped I had inspired the group enough but it was silent in the woods outside my tent. Best I get myself up so I struggled into several layers including hat and gloves and wandered across to the banks of the glacial and fast flowing Rio Blanco.

Impressively the vast majority of the group stood transfixed staring with admiration at the austere and dramatic east face of Mount Fitzroy as the rising sun on the opposite ridge cast its spell onto the granite slab turning it first a pale pink to crimson and to amber before the daylight colours took over. This magical sight was further enhanced by the pools of water on the edge of the river reflecting the spectacle in front of us.

We remained in silence, spell bound for several minutes before gradually moving off to prepare for our imminent climb further up the side of this awe inspiring peak to look down onto its hidden turquoise lake at Lago de Los Tres.

An emotional, unique and very special experience never to be forgotten. Patagonia – challenging but unbeatable!

Richard – Madagascar Trek

The journey to Andringitra National park in Central Madagascar is epic, but  worth it, as the trek is spectacular. We spent the first two days meandering beside rivers, gradually gaining altitude through small villages and farmland. As an area rarely visited by trekkers, we soon gathered small groups of locals. They were pleased to show us their houses and exchange songs. By the third day the settlements are left far behind and we entered the mountains proper, for me, the best day was still to come.

After an interesting night listening to the thunderstorms rolling around the nearby peaks, we rose early in preparation to summit. We had a quick breakfast and then a tough trek up to the summit of Pic Boby. After the descent there was still another 4 hours of walking, but everyone pulled together and supported each other through the hard times. That 4 hours is spent traversing some of the finest granite landscape that I have ever had the privilege of seeing. It’s a hard day and a long day, but truly rewarding. Joining in with the porters singing and dancing is a real hoot.

Danny – Great Wall Discovery Challenge

China Great Wall Discovery Challenge with Charity Challenge

2018 was a year of contrasts for me on the Great Wall of China. I had scorching hot temperatures in May, taking our trekking stamina to the limits, and a bitterly cold wind on our last day in late October. This made us feel as though we were half way up a Himalayan mountain. But there were also plenty of similarity between the two trips, which helped contribute to their overall success. The dedication and professionalism of the local team was a real highlight.

However, the biggest factor, which leaves me in awe, is the shear grit and determination of the participants. They push on through the Challenge even when they are at their lowest points. They always manage to find energy and a belief in themselves. It’s a pleasure to have played a small part in helping them to achieve their goals. It is an honour to see them battle through each day’s challenges and witness their well-deserved feelings of elation at the end of the week. Truly inspirational!

Steve – Great Wall Discovery Challenge

China Great Wall Discovery Challenge with Charity Challenge

It’s been 4 years since I began to work with Charity Challenge as an expedition leader. During this time I’ve been fortunate enough to have visited some amazing destinations Worldwide; sharing amazing experiences with some truly inspirational people. Personally; 2018 has been yet another unforgettable year! During September 2018, I travelled to China and trekked the Great Wall with a group of Challengers raising money for The British heart Foundation.

For me, autumn is the best season to visit the Great Wall. The colours are truly breath-taking and the weather was perfect; which is always welcome! The team were great fun to be with. Clearly some were ‘out of their comfort zone’. However; we all worked together helping others who needed it. Our two amazing local guide’s, Miko and Hastings, were always on hand to entertain and impress us with their knowledge about the Great Wall. Overall, we all had an unforgettable experience.

I count myself very lucky to be able to help people realise their dreams and share in their success. Every one completed the Great Wall of China trek safely, with no dramas. Yes, there were some tears; tears of joy… after finally completing their amazing challenge in China!

Laura – Greenland

Arctic Circle Challenge Greenland

The Arctic Circle Challenge (to Greenland) was one of those truly life-changing experiences, where you live your days to the rhythm of nature and the walk ahead.

We trekked 100km through the wilds of Greenland, rough camping in stunning remote locations. Each day held something new – surprise sightings of wild caribou, braving the glacial river crossings and trekking over mountain passes. The sheer scale and rawness of the landscape is breathtaking – one day we walked next to a 80km long lake.

I was lucky enough to have the camaraderie of a truly amazing team – Go Yellow! There’s no better way to start a trek, than to be flown in to your remote start point by helicopter…

John – Everest Base Camp

Everest Base Camp Trek with Charity Challenge

When I was asked to lead a group to Everest Base Camp in 2018, I had to read the email twice! I couldn’t believe it. I was thrilled to bits, it was an amazing opportunity! Then 3 months later, I landed at Lukla Airport with 25 clients to begin a beautiful journey and an incredible challenge.

We climbed through pristine forests littered with small villages and crossed glacial blue rivers on swinging cable bridges. As we climbed higher to Namche Bazaar, we felt the altitude and had to slow our pace whilst we acclimatised. A slow pace was perfect to take in the scenery, the monasteries and to get to know my fellow adventurers and local Sherpas.

One day we stood and watched as three lammergeyer eagles circled one of the many shrines that we passed on our ascent. We were particularly thrilled to hear the local guides tell stories of snow leopards living close to the path! We continued climbing higher, past 4000m then past 5000m.  Arriving at Everest Base Camp was very emotional for us all. After working extremely hard to get there, the group shared were plenty of hugs, a few tears and massive smiles all round!

Despite all the hard work, on the way back down, I definitely overheard someone saying that they would do it again….

James Marriott – Kilimanjaro to Ngorongoro Crater Bike Challenge

Charity Challenge

I was fortunate enough to be a leader on the British Asian Trust’s ‘Most Exotic Tour’ for the third year running this year. In 2016 we tackled Rajasthan, in 2017 Cambodia, and now it was time to experience Tanzania. The portents were great as on the first day we had incredible views of Mount Kilimanjaro from the hotel.

The highlight of the tour for me was the day spent cycling around Lake Manyara. We set off from our tented safari camp in Tarangire National Park and cycled down to the lake on the dry salt flats that surround it. We spotting our first wildebeest and antelope in the distance and grew increasingly excited.  Cycling through a makeshift fishing village we saw flamingos parading on the lake shore and marabou storks flying overhead. As we continued around the lake we passed alongside herds of zebra, the odd ostrich eyeing us quizzically and then through Maasai camps, all before lunch.

The quintessential East African experience, made all the more vivid by experiencing it on two wheels where every sense stimulated long the way. It was certainly a day I will never forget!

Lizzy – Great Wall Discovery Challenge

China Great Wall Discovery Challenge with Charity Challenge

One of my leading highlights of the 2018 season was in China, on the Great Wall.  Participants on open challenges come in all shapes, sizes, ages and levels of fitness. I find it particularly rewarding to help those who maybe struggle a bit more than average in achieving their goals. Marion was an inspiration to the whole group; despite suffering from a serious health issue she stoically plodded on, taking shorter breaks than the rest of the group so that she didn’t fall too far behind and regularly thought setting off whilst others were still enjoying a well earned rest. She was an absolute pleasure to lead, highly amusing and frequently kept us all in fits of giggles.  Anyone considering a challenge should go for it in my opinion. It will certainly be life changing!

Andy – Trek to Machu Picchu

Trek to Machu Picchu Peru with Charity Challenge

In 2018 I was lucky enough to be a leader on Trek Machu Pichu. The experience of trekking in a remote area of the Andes and interacting with local people in villages, really made this trip for me. The local team were fantastically supportive. On one occasion, after a long day battling altitude, we were greeted at camp with incredibly fresh Peruvian nachos and mountains of guacamole.

Our last day of trekking on the Inca trail started in heavy rain and continued through thick cloud until we hit the sun gate. Suddenly, the clouds parted and there was Machu Pichu directly below us. A magical moment.

Just can’t wait to make your own memories? Visit Charity Challenge to book your next challenge.

Work for us: Charity & Corporate Account Executive

Due to the exciting expansion of our valuable client list, a new opportunity has arisen for a passionate and customer focused professional to join one of the UK’s leading international adventure travel and event management companies for the charity sector as their Account Executive.

Based in London, the successful candidate will be responsible for the day-to-day management of a selection of Charity Challenge’s corporate, charity and private group clients. You will be responsible for managing relationships with these clients and building long-term mutually beneficial partnerships. The goal is to retain clients long-term and develop their challenge event programme to meet with their needs and objectives.

You will possess outstanding customer service skills and a passion for adventure tourism & events, the third sector and innovative business solutions. We value executives who are zealous about growing existing accounts and identifying roadblocks and obstacles to increasing business. You will be creative and helpful with suggested tailored solutions to common account problems. Dedicated to growing the business and facilitating smooth connections between our clients and our internal departments.

For more information, please see the Job Description.

To apply please send your CV and cover letter detailing why you would be suitable for the role to susan@charitychallenge.com. Applications close on 12th January 2018 and a competitive salary will be offered based on experience.

Work for us: Digital Marketing & Communications Manager

Due to some exciting new developments, an excellent opportunity has arisen for a creative and ambitious marketer to join one of the UK’s leading international adventure travel and event management companies for the charity sector as their Digital Marketing & Communications Manager.

Based in London, the successful candidate will be responsible for the promotion and engagement of the company’s high profile international and national challenge events for the charity and corporate markets. Working across creative, data, digital and sales together with being responsible for implementing our video strategy, new CRM and online review platform you will be highly motivated and driven to work for a reputable brand that keeps growing.

The role is an all-encompassing one; the primary responsibility of the Digital Marketing & Communications Manager will be to lead the implementation of our digital marketing strategy and ensure growth by delivering results against KPIs. The Marketing Manager will be given the freedom to make the role as large, creative and exciting as they want, working both autonomously and as part of a talented team.

For more information please see the Job Description.

To apply please send your CV and cover letter detailing why you would be suitable for the role to susan@charitychallenge.com. Applications close on 12th January 2018 and a competitive salary will be offered based on experience.

Meet the team: Alex Crouch

Alex Crouch joined Charity Challenge as our Adventure Travel Consultant and looks after all the important administrative processes within the company, including online registrations, insurance policies and group bookings. Alex plays a vital role in the delivery of Charity Challenge’s national and international expeditions, and is integral to the smooth running of the team. We grabbed five minutes with Alex, to find out about her background and what she enjoys most about her job…

Name: Alex Crouch

Location: London, UK

How long have you been working at Charity Challenge?
Two months – and it’s gone so fast!

Tell us a little bit about your background and what you did before joining Charity Challenge?
I grew up in London and started my career working in the ski industry, selling ski holidays all over the world and getting to explore plenty of destinations across the Alps. I was looking for a way to explore a larger variety of countries, and Charity Challenge seemed like the perfect place to do that. I’ve also had experience working in the charity sector at Save the Children, so Charity Challenge was the perfect place to combine my love of charity work and adventure travel.

What’s your favourite Charity Challenge expedition?
There are so many challenges that look incredible, and I’m hoping to sample one soon! I’d love to go to countries such as Burma or Kyrgyzstan which are less traveled and provide a real sense of adventure.

How many countries have you visited?
I’ve been lucky enough to explore at least 30 countries so far – and there’s so many more to discover!

Where’s next on your list of travel destinations?
I’d absolutely love to go to Oman – it’s right next door to Dubai, but still has so much mystery about it. Charity Challenge have recently launched their Oman Mountain Trek, which looks demanding but equally rewarding. The harsh climate and tough terrain would provide a real sense of achievement at the end!

What’s your favourite cuisine?
Italian if we’re close to home, or South East Asian (Thai, Indonesian, Vietnamese… it’s all delicious!)

What three things can’t you live without?
A photo-taking device, my skis and food – not for survival reasons, I just love cooking and eating different food!

Tell us an interesting fact about yourself…
When I was younger, I was in a documentary about babies. They took me to the zoo…

Meet the team: Mark Borton

Mark Borton is Charity Challenge’s Marketing Manager, and responsible for managing and maintaining the website, delivering our social media strategy, all-things digital analytics related and planning our marketing campaigns. We sat down with him for five minutes to find out more about what inspires him…

Name: Mark Borton

Location: London, UK

How long have you been working at Charity Challenge?
Only six weeks so far – but so far so good!

Tell us a little bit about your background and what you did before joining Charity Challenge?
I’m originally from Melbourne, Australia, where I spent most of my life. Prior to arriving in the UK, I worked for the Formula 1 Grand Prix in Australia, managing their marketing and advertising. However, my partner and I had always dreamed of something different, so two years ago we quit our jobs and travelled around the world. We ended up in London a year ago and haven’t looked back since. London is a place I’ve always wanted to live.

What do you enjoy most about your job?
Being part of a small team means I’ve got greater responsibility than ever before. Previously, I was a small cog in a big team – now, I’m a big cog in a small team. It’s also great to see tangible results and know you had a large part to play in the success.

How many countries have you visited?
At least 40+. I’ve been very fortunate and travelled from an early age.

What’s your favourite Charity Challenge expedition, and why?
I’m interested in off-the-beaten-track destinations, and Madagascar fascinates me. Hopefully, fingers crossed, I’ll be able to explore the country one day.

What advice would you give someone who is looking to do a Charity Challenge?
Enjoy the experience! It’s not a holiday – but the reward for completing something you’ve worked hard to achieve is far better than any relaxing holiday on the beach can provide. You’ll make new friends, experience something incredible, and no doubt be an inspiration to those around you. And that’s pretty cool.

What’s your favourite continental cuisine?
I really can’t look past authentic Italian food. It’s so simple, yet brilliant. That being said, I do find Indian, Portuguese, Moroccan and Thai food completely delicious!

What 3 things can’t you live without?
I probably couldn’t live without my camera, which is always attached to my arm. I should probably mention my partner here, so I’ll add her in! And, finally, the ability to travel and explore. Life wouldn’t be complete without any of those three.

What would your autobiography be called?
I did it my way.

Tell us an interesting fact about yourself.
I was the Australian 50m freestyle champion when I was 14 years old…

Work For Us: Marketing Manager

Due to expansion of the team, an exciting opportunity has arisen for a creative and ambitious marketer to join one of the UK’s leading international and national adventure travel and event management companies for the charity sector as their Marketing Manager.

Based in London, the successful candidate will be responsible for the promotion and engagement of the company’s high profile international and national challenge events for the charity and corporate markets. Working across creative, data, digital and sales together with being responsible for our video strategy, you will be highly motivated and driven to work for a reputable brand that keeps on growing.

The role is an all-encompassing one; the primary responsibility of the Marketing Manager will be to own and lead the strategic digital marketing plan for our events and ensure growth by delivering results against KPIs. The Marketing Manager will be given the freedom to make the role as large, creative and exciting as they want, working both autonomously and as part of a very talented team.

For more information please see the Job Description.

To apply please send your CV and cover letter detailing why you would be suitable for the role to susan@charitychallenge.com. Applications close on 4th September 2017 and a competitive salary will be offered based on experience.

Work for us: Operations Manager – Americas & Indian Continents

Be part of an award winning UK based travel company which specialises in organising overseas challenge events in support of charity organisations.

Jose llama

Charity Challenge is looking for an experienced, passionate, and commercially minded Operations Manager to join their highly driven, ambitious and dynamic operations team.  With your primary focus being on safety and risk management as well as improving and maintaining excellent standards of quality and customer experience, you will manage around 10 different itineraries with 40+ departures throughout the Americas and India.

Ideally you will have previous group/charity tour operation and adventure travel experience and knowledge of principles of safety and risk management. Knowledge of adventure travel in the Americas (North and Latin) and India would also be highly desirable yet not an essential pre-requisite.

For more information, please see the Job Description.

To apply please email your CV together with a covering letter outlining your relevant experience, skills and abilities which match the requirements of the role to Holmes Rogers at holmes@charitychallenge.com

Work for us: Adventure Travel Consultant

Passionate about adventure travel? Want to make a difference? Love providing exceptional customer service and support?

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This is your opportunity to shine as an Adventure Travel Consultant for Charity Challenge, a leading tour operator and event management company who specialise in tailored national and international challenges. We are looking for a passionate individual to join our dynamic Sales, Marketing and Partnerships Team and to help take this exciting part of the business forward whilst providing exceptional customer service. You will inspire, support and prepare participants and groups throughout their pre-travel experiences and become integral in preparing them for their adventure of a lifetime. To achieve this you will exceed in receiving excellent customer feedback, maintain a high degree of accuracy and never ceasing to go the extra mile our participants. If you have an appetite for travel, are driven by providing great service, have fantastic administrative skills, are results driven and genuinely enjoy supporting people, then we would love to hear from you.

For more information, check out the Adventure Travel Consultant Job Description.

To apply please email your CV together with a covering letter outlining your relevant experience, skills and abilities that make you the stand out candidate to susan@charitychallenge.com. Applications close on 15th June 2017. 

Meet the team: Phili Newell

Operations Manager, Phili Newell, joined Charity Challenge in 2016 and looks after all of our adventurous expeditions in Asia.

Phili profile

Name: Phili Newell

Location: London, UK

What’s your role at Charity Challenge?
I’m the Operations Manager for our expeditions in Asia, which includes looking after our events in Burma, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Mongolia and Vietnam. The expedition that keeps me the busiest is the Great Wall Discovery in China, as it’s our most popular and the visa application process can sometimes appear slightly overwhelming, but it’s always worth it.

What’s been your favourite Charity Challenge expedition to take on (so far)?
I took part in the Lombok Lava trek in June 2016, and that was a fantastic challenge. We trekked to some of Indonesia’s highest peaks, and were continually inspired by our amazing team of guides and porters who helped us complete the hike! (Read Phili’s blog about the expedition here).

Did you always want to work in the travel industry?
I’ve always been interested in the travel industry, but I am particularly interested in the NGO sector. Before I worked at Charity Challenge, I spent two and a half years working with an NGO in Borneo, implementing a series of sustainable community and natural resource projects. We took groups of young volunteers to the projects to give them insight into the development sector whilst providing them with transferable skills in leadership and team work. At Charity Challenge, there are many similarities; we offer people the opportunity to experience so many different things, including meeting new people, learning about different cultures and pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone. When your resilience is tested, you realise your strengths – and it is this that will get you through challenges that you may face in the future (whatever they may be).

What’s your favourite thing about being the Operations Manager for Asia?
Hearing back from participants who have completed one of our challenges – their sense of achievement is infectious and inspiring.

How many languages can you speak?
I would say 1.5… English, and some Japanese!

What advice would you give someone who is thinking about taking on a Charity Challenge?
Make sure that you train properly for your adventure. The more training you do before you go, the more you will enjoy the challenge. And pack light (follow the advice on our Kit Lists, and you can’t go wrong).

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
London – if I could also have a massive garden and a dog!

What three things can’t you live without?
A sense of humour, Marmite and sunlight.

Tell us an interesting fact about yourself…
I hitchhiked on sail boats on the Canadian west coast and eventually got to sail to San Francisco after joining a yacht race. I then painted a house so I could get enough money together to leave the USA to get my return flight back to the UK!