Adventurers recount some oarsome experiences

Oxford Mail: Sarah Outen Sarah Outen

A SELECTION of explorers and daredevils are gathering for one night only to share their adventures with a live audience.

More than 400 guests will be treated to a series of talks during Night of Adventure at Oxford Town Hall, in St Aldate’s, on Thursday.

The event organiser is Matt Blake, from Banbury, who spent nearly four years cycling around the world. Setting off in 2008 to “live a life less ordinary”, he got home in April – 46,000 miles and 61 countries later.

Other speakers include polar explorer Jim McNeill and travel writer Jonny Bealby, who channelled his passion for adventure into setting up his travel company, Wild Frontiers.

Also taking part are a writer whose adventures began with an adult-free cycling holiday at the tender age of 13 and a York City fan who cycled to every game one season, including seeing them lose to Oxford United in a play-off final.

Each speaker will be limited to just 20 slides to accompany their tales – and each slide will scroll forward automatically after just 20 seconds.

Mr Blake said: “The speakers at the Night of Adventure may have travelled the world several times over and found themselves in some pretty hairy situations along the way, but their talks could well be their biggest challenge to date.

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“Once they begin there is no stopping or turning back – it’s fast, furious, and extremely stressful for the speaker.”

those taking part will be:

  • Jonny Bealby – Travel writer who set up his own company to take people to the world’s “wild frontiers”
  • Jim McNeill – Professional explorer with 35 years of experience organising polar expeditions
  • Tom Tippetts – Rowed the Atlantic Ocean solo to raise money for the Mind charity
  • Alby Roseveare – Paddled to Peru earlier this year as part of a whitewater kayaking expedition
  • Lois Pryce – Took her vintage motorbike around the world and wrote two books about her travels
  • Simon Hood – Quit his job to cycle to every York City match in a season.
  • Sarah Outen – Went round the world using only human-powered vehicles, including bikes and boats, in two and a half years
  • Tom Morgan – Founder of the Bristol-based Adventurists which organises the famous Mongol Rally
  • Grace Dickinson – Snake trainer who has travelled the globe
  • Richard Harpham – Founder of the Big 5 Kayak Challenge which organises kayaking expeditions across the world.
  • Craig and Loretta Pollard – Started Cycle Africa which has explored the huge continent and raised money for African children.

Mr Blake added that the event aims to celebrate the spirit of adventure in all its guises and raise money for Hope and Homes for Children, which helps youngsters in orphanages around the world.

Mr Blake said: “In societies where things spiral out of control, often children are the victims. That’s where charity’s like Hope and Homes for Children come in.

“It’s a world leader in transforming harmful and outdated childcare practices in Eastern Europe and Africa – we can think of no better cause to support.”

Mr McNeill added: “I’m really looking forward to it and it seems like it’s going to be a lot of fun.

“It’s an unusual format and it will be good to get so many different explorers together promoting what we do.”

Doors to Night of Adventure open at 6.30pm and the first talk starts at 7pm.

  • Tickets cost £20 from emily.prince@hopeandhomes.org, or 01722 790 111, or online at nightofadventure.co.uk

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