30 Mar 2010
British Powerboat Racer Shelley Jory-Leigh today raced against the clock to deliver 500 Easter Eggs to some of the South Coasts disadvantaged Children. The Charity challenge made by Shelley’s sponsor Rotary Watches was to deliver 500 Rotary Easter Eggs by road and water to 500 children in various locations along the South Coast covering 100 miles in just 6 hours.
Organised in conjunction with Sainsbury’s Hedge End store and Wave 105 Cash for kids, Shelley and her team set off from the Hedge End store at 10.00am. She was joined on the journey by Wave 105 Radio DJ Steve Power,BBC TV Presenter Laura Trant, Sainsbury’s Hedge End Store Manager Mike Hawker and Tom Tope the UK Sales Director for Rotary Watches joined the team as official Time Keeper.
The challenge first took the team to the Piam Brown Ward the Wessex Paediatric Oncology Centre - based at Southampton General Hospital, treating all types of childhood cancer in the age range of a day old to eighteen years of age. They then quickly sped through Southampton to Mansbridge School where they received a fantastic reception from the school’s 185 students as they attended the day’s morning assembly to deliver the eggs.
There was one last stop in the Southampton area before Shelley and the team were to head across the water to the Isle of Wight. Running ahead of their expected schedule Shelley and the Team headed to Hope Lodge School a residential school offering specific support in the care and education of students between the ages of 6 and 19 who are described as having an autistic spectrum disorder or similar needs. With the days classes already in session and not wanting to disrupt their time table Shelley and her team entrusted the 100 eggs to students Karla Piskorz(14) and James Hornby-Smith (11) to distribute amongst their classes for them.
Half way through the challenge and the team encountered a problem, the scheduled trip by powerboats from Warsash to Cowes Yacht Haven had to be cancelled. “We had two Cougar powerboats waiting at Warsash for the team and the plan was for me to drive the eggs and the team over to the Island. But there’s one thing a powerboat racer can’t control and it’s the weather.” explained Shelley
“The powerboat support team of RYA Officials Alan Goodwin and Brian Wheeler went out to check the conditions and unfortunately for safety reasons we had to decide that taking the boats across wasn’t safe. We thought the challenge was over! But a quick phone call to Red Jet Ferries and we were back in business they were only too happy to help get us across to the Isle of Wight, but now we were really up against the clock.”
On arrival in Cowes Shelley and the team were met by staff from the Newport Sainsbury’s who drove them to the store to meet Alysha, Joel, Ben and Gemma from Beaulieu House Respite Care for Children, who were eagerly awaiting their arrival to take delivery of a further 50 Rotary Easter Eggs for them and their friends.
Still against the clock and the seconds ticking away the team quickly headed back to Cowes for the return journey on the Red Jet Ferry where they were invited on the bridge to meet Commander Nicola George and her team. Before powering back to the Hedge End Sainsbury’s store to meet the Simon Says Charity for the last delivery of eggs in the hope of beating the time of 6 hours set by Shelley’s Sponsors Rotary Watches.
So with 500 Easter Eggs delivered Tom Tope Rotary UK Sales Director stopped the clock and as the team signed autographs and posed for photos with children from the Simon Says Charity the celebrations started. Shelley and the team smashed the time set by Rotary, and completed their challenge in 5hrs 43minutes and 50 seconds.
Delighted to have completed the challenge Shelley commented “I have been very fortunate in all aspects of my life and I have experienced so many wonderful things and places whilst powerboat racing. We were nearly beaten by the weather but Red Jet Ferries really came through for us, We met some fantastic children and the adults helping them in their lives. I just hope that if we achieved one thing today it was that we brought a little happiness to their lives.”
“Today was a great success but like in powerboat racing there are many people behind the scenes that make it all happen and without the support of the following people we wouldn’t have completed the challenge so I’d like to thank; Cougar powerboats, Sainsbury’s Hedge End & Newport Stores, Cowes Yacht Haven, Red Jet Ferries, Wave 105, Hendy Hire and Everyone involved from the Charities and Schools we visited and of course Rotary Watches for supplying us with the eggs and providing us all with a fantastic challenge that gave us all such an enjoyable day.”