The OU Charity Fund, run by Basil Frost (M 45) (above), exists to provide small financial grants to OUs who are either raising money for good causes or involved with charity work. If you would like to apply for a grant, please send a handwritten letter to Mr Frost at the address below:
Secretary of the Uppingham Society
c/o The OU Office
The OU Charity Fund is a subsidiary of the OU Association which provides the funds to support the charitable activities undertaken by OUs.
During Easter, Rosie Johnson (Fd 09) went to Honduras to work with the charity Global Brigades along with a number of other dental students from Cardiff University. She writes ‘While there, we were based in a rural hillside town called Chichicaste. Our aim was to offer dental care to people who had very limited access by providing advice and treatments. Only expensive bottled water is safe to drink and the local population, drink coca cola as a cheaper alternative. Coupled with this few could afford toothbrushes and toothpaste so the dental hygiene was poor and many teeth were badly decayed. We worked long hours assessing everyone, then providing them with fillings or extractions, followed by advice (with the help of translators) on dental health.
Honduras is notorious for its’ high murder rate (one an hour), caused by the drug trade, so security was an issue for us, with our supplies of drugs and needles. Because of this, we worked out of a school and stayed in a compound two hours’ drive away, both continually patrolled by armed guards and we were not allowed outside of either.
It was hot tiring work but really rewarding as those we treated were very grateful. The experience improved my self-confidence in performing numerous quite difficult dental procedures and hopefully my Spanish! Special thanks to the OU Society for sponsoring me for this trip.
In September, Guy Banham (Hf 95) and his friend, Will Parry, completed Le Raid Pyrénées, a timed bicycle challenge from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean, a distance of 470 miles over 4.5 days and with 11,000m of climbing in the middle. They cycled over 100 miles per day, climbing some of the largest mountains in the Pyrenees and pedalling in the wheel tracks of Tour de France legends. They raised funds for Macmillan and Take Heart (a heart patient charity in Leeds General Hospital). Guy said “It was by far the hardest thing that either of us have ever done and the feeling of elation at the end of it was incomparable.” Since its inception in 1950 the Raid has only been completed by a few people and they were numbers 7,940 and 7,941 to attempt it.
At the age of 76, Peter Owthwaite (M 52) cycled five hundred miles round the Yorkshire boundary and did a three mile-high parachute jump in aid of two charities, Martin House, a children’s Hospice near Wetherby and St Peter’s Church, located in his village. Peter is no stranger to long distance cycle rides. In 1992 he cycled 4,106 miles round the coast of England, Scotland and Wales, but as this is now a distant memory he decided it was time for another challenge. As an adopted Yorkshire man (born in Finchley and evacuated to Wetherby in 1939), it seemed sensible to do a tour of Yorkshire’s boundaries – 500 miles of flat and hilly cycling to test his aged legs.
Completing the challenge in style, Peter undertook a parachute jump in Lincolnshire on 11th August. He said ‘Never in my wildest dreams did I envisage that I would be volunteering to fall out of an aeroplane at three miles high, and freefall for two miles at 120mph. I made this crazy exit to land safely, sliding to a halt on my bottom, phew!
Erol Elson (WB 89) raced 220km across Cambodia to raise money for the Adam Cole Foundation, a charity named after Adam Cole (F 89) who died in a motor accident in 2006. The Charity has raised over £420,000 in eight years which has made a huge difference to disadvantaged children’s lives education in Cambodia and the UK. With money raised from this challenge, the charity aims to build a new club for children to use in the Cambodian province in which they are working - children who would otherwise have no safe place to play and learn.
Jack Campbell (B 01) set himself a mountain of a fundraising challenge this Summer; scaling all 282 Munro peaks across Scotland. The Munros are Scottish mountains all with a height over 3000ft, named after Sir Hugh Munro, who produced the first list of such hills.
Jack scaled up to 10 Munros a day during one of the worst summers in memory and faced a mixture of weather, including a 40ft snow drift and a storm of arctic proportions. All of this was to raise money for two charities close to his heart, the National Parkinson Foundation and the Household Cavalry Foundation. Jack says “having recently left the army I was looking for a new challenge. I wanted to give something back to my old regiment to help with the rehabilitation of injured soldiers. I also have a number of family and friends who have worked hard over their careers, looking forward to retiring and fulfilling a lifetime of ambitions. Many of these people have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s very soon after retirement and therefore have been unable to complete their dreams.” themunrohunter.org
Ivor Morton (L 60) who undertook the Three Castles Walk in June, , joining 15 other walkers from the Rotary Club of Claverhouse of which he is Vice President. The Walk began at Cortachy Castle near Kirriemur in Angus, at 7am on a damp and cloudy Sunday morning, where members “walked in their sleep” for the first one and a half hours. After three hours the group arrived at Glamis Castle where they were warmly welcomed by the Castle management and a piper. After receiving sustenance, a wee nip of whisky and words of encouragement, they were piped out of the Castle grounds and set off on the long trek over the Sidlaw Hills and down to the City of Dundee where the walkers arrived at Dudhope Castle to be welcomed by the Mayor, another Pipe Band and a celebration buffet to round off the day.
Ivor walked 24 miles in aid of Alzheimers and they raised £13,500 in the process. He commented “It was a pity that I was the only OU there but we will be repeating the Walk next year when all OUs in Scotland will be warmly invited to the event! Many thanks to the OU Charity Fund for the very kind donation to this very worthy cause."
Tim Heilbronn (L 70) and his wife Jackie completed the 54 mile Alliance Trust Cateran Yomp through the hills and glens of Perthshire in June, winning the Fastest Mixed Team Cup for the fourth time in a row. The pair, competing on behalf of the University of Dundee, are both members of the Rotary Club of Dundee and with the help of colleagues have raised over £17,000 for ABF The Soldiers' Charity by completing the four walks. Tim says he avoided exercise as much as he could whilst at school, so is quite amazed to find the words “that was an enjoyable run” passing his lips as he fast approaches his 60th year!
Family team Chris (L 70) and Sam Sharrock (M 04) completed The Gobi March 2015, placing in 47th and 52nd position respectively. Over the week long ultramarathon they had to contend with snow blizzards, torrential rainstorms, 50 degree heat and sandstorms. It was an unforgettable experience and funds raised were for the Katie Compson Foundation. Both would like to thank the Uppingham Society for their support.
Huw Morgan (B 81) successfully completed the British London 10k run in July with a time of just over an hour. The run, celebrating its 15th anniversary, took almost 14,000 participants past some of the most famous sites in central London, ending on Whitehall near Downing Street. Huw ran as part of a team raising money for cicsgroup.org.uk, a charity of which he is a trustee, that helps profoundly deaf children who have cochlear implants and their families. Huw would like to thank the OU Charity Fund for their generous donation to his fund-raising.
Jim Figgis (F 49) was a regular visitor to Africa and was so moved by the plight of the children he saw that in 1991 he established The Society for the Protection of African Children (S.P.A.C.). Over the years, the charity has supported many projects including two orphanages, one in Malawi and another in Kenya, and a day-care centre in Durban. Jim received a donation from the OU Charity fund in support of his activities to raise funds for staff and teaching salaries at the Maoni Orphanage, Malawi. hopeforafrica.org.uk
Back in October 2014 with the big four zero looming, Rachel Hills (J 91) was keen to set herself a challenge to mark 2015. She was lucky to gain a place to run in the London Marathon for a wonderful charity called Changing Faces who support people with disfigurements. She confesses she had never thought that running was something she could do, but three years ago found by chance the NHS 'Couch to 5k' podcast and became hooked. After months of training runs & plenty of aches & pains, the big day finally arrived. Rachel said she felt nervous and excited in equal measures but the atmosphere from the start was incredible, with every part of the route lined with spectators who cheered everyone all the way round. She said ‘The whole experience was something I will never forget and it was all the more special to be raising much needed funds for such a worthwhile cause. I'm extremely grateful to the OU Charity Fund for its generous donation which together with gifts from family & friends helped me to raise over £3000.’
Georgie Field (J 07) also received support from the OU Charity Fund for running in the 2015 London Marathon. Running in support of Shelter, a UK based charity which helps millions of people every year struggling with bad housing or homelessness. Congratulations to all those OUs and staff who took part in this years’ race. We heard you finished in some rather spectacular times; Jake Yeomans (LH 08), Will Fry (F 98), Ashley Grote (Hf 95) and Lesley Allen, Housemistress of Johnson's, very well done.
Hugh Richardson (HF 00) and Tristan Burwell (SH 01), 9th/12th Royal Lancers Marathon Des Sables Team, successfully completed the race across the Sahara in April. They emailed to say ‘It was a truly memorable experience. The first three days were in the region of 20 – 22 miles which got us suitably accustomed to the variety of terrain that the Sahara has. Day four was the “big one” and to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Marathon Des Sables was the longest stage on record, measuring 56 miles. Following a brief period of rest we then tackled the final stage which was a full marathon (26.2 miles). We were lucky enough to experience fantastic vistas and the variety of landscapes that the Sahara boasts and as a result spent time running over endless sand dunes, flat salt plains and some good hills. To date we have raised in the region of £5000 for the Army Benevolent Fund.’
Thomas Bramah (Fgh 03) also completed the event raising over £11,000 for Hope for Children (HOPE).
Henry Bowles (M 06) received a grant from the OU Charity Fund in 2014 and writes...
‘I’d like to extend a huge thank you to the OU Charity Fund for supporting my fundraising for the Athens marathon. I am absolutely thrilled to have supported such a worthwhile cause raising £1,348.06 for Worldwide Cancer Research. The marathon wasn’t easy by any means. Starting in the ancient town of Marathon, we followed in the footsteps of Pheidippides running 26.2 miles (mostly uphill) to the city of Athens, before crossing the line in the iconic Panathinaiko Stadium. The sun took its toll during the 4 hours 48 minutes of pavement pounding leaving me with sunburn, the worst of my injuries on Monday morning!’
Ed Fletcher (F 03) and Henry Bowles (M 06) at the finish line, just about managing a smile.
After completing a BA in Architecture, Lucy Rymer (C 06) travelled to Cambodia with Orkidstudio, a humanitarian design practice, to construct new facilities for the charity to help Cambodian children. The constructions took place during July and August in one of the slum communities of Sihanoukville, Cambodia. In order to raise funds and awareness for the project, on 14th June, Lucy cycled 110 miles from Uppingham to Pocklington School (where she also studied).