John O’Groats to Lands End Combine Challenge

CLA Member Martin Williams along with three friends have taken on a challenge to raise money for charities close to their hearts
Combine Challenge.jpg

The challenge took place between the 4th and the 8th June and has so far has raised £73,116 for charities, Mind and Children with Cancer UK.

Travelling 940 miles, using 1,593 litres of HVO (Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil) supplied by Certas Energy, with 51 and a half hours driving shared between Martin and his three cohorts, James Baldini, Olly Harrison and John Branson, they completed the challenge in just over four days.

All of the drivers have suffered the loss of close friends through suicide, and so decided to find a way to raise awareness of this country-wide issue. The idea was born over pizza and they decided the only way to tackle this big problem, was with the biggest machine they could find and the biggest trip they could do.

The most overwhelming support came from well-wishers who followed their journey and stopped along the way to cheer them on.

Every step of the way, the roads, laybys, roundabouts, bridges and fields had crowds of people holding up their home made signs with their 'percentage' on them. We had asked everyone to think about answering the question 'How are you?' with a percentage, instead of just saying 'I'm fine'. That way it opens up a dialogue of why you may not be 100%. It was very powerful and emotional seeing some of the signs and we often pulled over to chat with those on the roads.

Martin Williams commented

As well as being supported by Certas Energy with the ecofuel, they also received support from Claas, who chose Children with Cancer UK as their charity and hosted the team at dealerships along the route. These fell at about every 200 miles giving the drivers an achievable daily goal within daylight hours, and were always filled with people to welcome them and later wave them on their way.

The team were also welcomed at farm shops, depots and other farms for meals and to stay over before starting again at 5am the following day.

The team also took time to visit the family of a man who had taken his own life and was the reason behind the fundraising. Following this visit Martin and the other drivers spent an emotional few minutes in convoy with the man’s friends on their tractors as they visited his farm.

The principle behind the trip was primarily to raise awareness of mental health issues throughout the country, not just within agriculture. We also collected for Children with Cancer UK along the way using a Just Giving page, which is still open to donate to both or either charity. Mental health should not be a stigma, it is present amongst us all and we all know of someone who has, or is struggling. The combine part was an achievement: it's big, it's unusual, but it was the vehicle to represent the size of the issue and a great job it did too. We were sent many messages from people across the country who had been touched by the event and its principles. Some messages we read in tears as they were so moving. We would like to thank everyone who helped us, most of all we would like to wish everyone and anyone who was touched by the event the very best of health, and hopefully if we saved just one life it was absolutely worth the effort.

Martin Williams

You can click here to find out more or donate to this wonderful cause.