400km French adventure raises more than £800 for Alzheimer’s Society

Published 2 March 2016

Three dedicated fundraisers from University of Portsmouth managed to raise more than £800 for Alzheimer’s Society, after taking part in the university’s Jailbreak Challenge 2016.

Ken Matsui, Jahronimo Ellis and Dav Angelo Waltho formed the Still Moving Team to take part in the challenge. RAG Portsmouth's annual Jailbreak started on 29 January at 9am. The Still Moving team had to race other teams around the world trying to get as far away as possible from Portsmouth without spending any of their own money.

The team chose to support Alzheimer’s Society to benefit from their challenge which saw them brave sea sickness, bad weather and the challenge of getting everything for free in order to gain the most miles travelled from their start in Portsmouth.

Jailbreak team
Dav kindly nominated Alzheimer’s Society to be supported by the team as his grandmother had dementia and so the team decided to raise as much money as possible for the Society.

Dav said:

'We recommend everyone to go out there and see their world for yourselves, there are just so many things that you never knew existed and it also brings hope to humanity the amount of people who are kind and generous, despite society believing otherwise.'

On the first day the team raised £300 in just three hours by collecting donations for the challenge around university buildings and even popping into university lectures to make announcements and collect funds.

The trio then used £100 to pay for them to travel by ferry from Portsmouth to Saint Malo but then used their best negotiations skills and charm to hitch a lift with a couple on board the ferry to travel to Nantes.

Despite Jahronimo being separated from the rest of the team in Nantes after a ride on a rickshaw, the team successfully travelled by train to Caen, stayed for one night and then returned on the ferry to Portsmouth.

Throughout their journeys the team received wonderful support from people they met and approached for donations for Alzheimer’s Society, food and other necessities.

The Still Moving Team and Alzheimer’s Society would like to thank everyone who supported and donated the team’s Jailbreak challenge.

Natalie Bettinson, Alzheimer’s Society Community Fundraiser for Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, said:

'Ken, Dav and Jahronimo’s adventure to France sounds fantastic. It has been great to hear the stories from their travels and the fantastic support they received from fellow students, family, friends and random acts of kindness from strangers in aid of Alzheimer’s Society. Alzheimer’s Society relies on the support and generosity from supporters like the Still Moving Team who enable us to continue funding vital services to support people with dementia and their families and essential research.'

If you would like to support the Still Moving Jailbreak challenge please visit: www.justgiving.com/Still-Moving1

Breakout – The team’s story, as written by Ken Matsui

After we were separated from Jahronimo in Nantes, we ended up finding him and met up with the other team (BAM) who also ended up in Nantes. From there we went through thick and thin looking for a place to stay for the night hoping to spend none to as little as possible and wandered around into hotels. Our mission brought us to IBIS Styles where a very lovely young woman, tried to help us out by searching for the best hotels and calling hotel managers for us, knowing that the hotel she currently works at won't be able to accommodate both our teams. Whilst there, she offered us tea and a warm place to rest while we find a roof over our heads.

By this point we haven't eaten much at all so we were incredibly hungry and craved hot, warm food so Dav and myself went to try and get something to eat. That is where we met three bubbly ladies working at a baguette cafe who were so generous and offered us free lunch, enough for both our teams! They gave us a few huge French baguettes which were amazing and coffees. 

We went back to IBIS Styles and presented to our teams what seemed like a feast at that time. Despite the lovely young woman's hard work at trying to find us a place to stay for cheap, she was unsuccessful. However, one of the other team members was able to find a great deal - a villa to stay for all six of us - just for 11 euros each.

The cheap cost came with a long walk through motorways, about an hour and half but the villa was amazing and we ended up relaxing and chilling at the villa, singing and playing the guitar as well as playing card games.

Earlier the next morning, the other team had to go to catch their pre-paid ticket back to Portsmouth while we were still stranded in France. We had to think of the best way to get back in one piece to Portsmouth which was a challenge but we took it head first.

On the walk back, our morale were kept back thanks to Dav and his guitar-playing prowess. Our attempt at hitchhiking didn't turn out too well but we managed to get to a tram line where we hitched a tram to the city. From there we managed to get on a train to Caen where we met French university students and they made the journey fly by. There were a lot of confusion and nodding but we learnt more words that we can take with us back to England, in return we taught them English.

Print this page