Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Charity on a Skateboard

Just when you think that the youth (or as the linguistically challenged often say on television, yoof) of Great Britain must surely be approaching its behavioural nadir, a fact of which anyone who ventures out on the streets of the nations’ cities at night, must be painfully aware, there comes a cheering bit of news.

The other day I received an E-Mail from a young man, Sam Benson, telling me of his plans to join a few friends on a 3000 kilometre tour of Europe by way of skateboards. I was reaching for the telephone to call for the men in white coats to come and take them away for their own protection, when I read a little further and saw that the idea was to raise money for charity. I cancelled the men in white coats

Now I believe that any scheme, no matter how bonkers it may seem, that will benefit a good cause (and theirs was), deserves to be encouraged.

He went on to say that he proposed keeping a diary enroute and, when done, would I put it into a book form?

He then asked how much it would cost.

I answered that I would be delighted to do the book for him and that, as a contribution to his cause, I would not only do it for free but that I would also arrange for it to be printed and published with the royalties going to his charities.

It is such a delightfully wacky idea that I hope some of you will help him in this endeavour. His explanation of how it came about is as follows:

“The idea was first constructed by Jay Duggan, my fellow Longboarder.

The original plan was to skate to Rome, “for a laugh” we both found this pretty funny, but thought it would be a cool idea, if only we had the money!

A few weeks passed, and we had already forgotten about Rome, and moved onto another hair-brained scheme (building our own Longboards), we were sat watching the mid-afternoon news on a rainy miserable day, when a report from Launceston came on with an interview with a tall Beardy bloke called Dave Cornthwaite. He was nearing the end of a marathon Charity Skate, from John O’Groats to Lands End. He went on to talk about the Charities he was supporting, and how long it had taken him.

An idea started to form inside my head and I started to get excited. I logged on to the computer and looked up the BoardFree website.

I read all of the articles on there, and started to feel incredibly humble.

This man, a Longboarder from Wales, was putting his neck on the line skateboarding a total of nearly 8000km across the UK and Australia to help these charities.

I had to get involved.

And that’s when Jay’s previous idea of the Skate to Rome for a Laugh came in; we could do a European BoardFree Journey!

I informed Jay, made sure we both wanted this as much as I had hoped and quickly bashed Dave’s mobile number into the phone.

“Hello, Dave Cornthwaite Speaking”

“Hello dude, my name is Bam; I’ve got a proposition for you!”

An hour later, we had agreed that it was a great idea, and he would help us to get sorted.

From that moment on, my free time has been solely dedicated to organizing this event, building the website, organizing sponsors, and finding a support Driver and photographer!

Little did I know, my childhood best friend, Tom “Fletchy” Fletcher had finally got home from travelling across Australia for a year.

This was perfect! Fletchy loves to travel, he’s a good driver, and little did I know then, that he is an amazingly talented and gifted Photographer in his own right!

Our first sponsor to be signed was SeaSpecs, they make Extreme sport sunglasses which are guaranteed to keep sweat out of your eyes, and stay firmly stuck to your head.

I had a chat with Rich, the owner of SeaSpecs, and he agreed to supply us with a pair of Copper Blaze Glasses for the Journey.

Our Second Sponsor was LongboardLarry.

Larry Peterson, what can I say? The Guy Is A Legend! He makes the most amazing boards; they perform amazingly and are extremely pleasing to look at. I emailed him, and after a few days received an email back explaining that he had supplied Adam Colton on his Skate across America Journey and the Guys from Push for the Cure, and would be happy to supply us with some boards to use.

As you can imagine, this got me extremely excited, we had a board sponsor! This is actually going to happen!

After LBL, we signed SunRisers skateboard head Lights, ABZ Extreme (Bearings), and react Snowboards (trucks).
Currently we have 5 sponsors, and have all the Skate hardware we need. Next up will be Shoes and GPS Systems, and that’s where Laura comes in.

Laura Hatwell is a Devon born Lass, currently residing in Wee Bonny Scotland, where she works for the BBC. She’s already completed her own Journey for BoardFree, Skating 25miles to Loch Lomond, raising just over £500 for the three BF charities. She officially joined our team on 3rd October becoming our Logistics Captain.

Her job will be to keep us organised, and make sure we stay on track with our Daily targets on the road.”

They have an excellent website at so take a look and see if you can help in any way. And, of course, next year when the book is published (no title yet), don’t forget to buy a copy. It will be available from Amazon etc. as well as from your local bookstores.

It’s all in a very good cause.


Blogger Bam Bam said...

Thanks Owen, it means alot.


10:26 am  
Blogger ABZ Extreme Staff said...

Great news about the book! We at ABZ are very excited about the project.

8:18 pm  

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