IN October Phil Voice will be setting off from Bergerac, in south west France, and head to John O’Groats in Scotland to raise money for horticulture charity Perennial.
And he will be doing it on a ride-on lawnmower.
Phil's Mowerthon campaign will rack up more than 2,000km on an Etesia H124 mower that is being developed in France to include a heated cabin to beat the unpredictable British weather.
But there is a serious side to the adventure as Phil is raising money for Perenial (Royal Gardeners’ Benevolent Society) which provides free, confidential advice and support to everyone, and their families, working in, or retired from working in horticulture.
"I'm always thinking of ways to help, and sitting at my desk one day I thought about walking from Land's End to John O'Groats to raise money for charity, but this had already been done," said Phil.
"I then had a brainwave. Why not do it on a mower? Better still, why not do it from my home in France? After an email to Les Malin at Etesia which he forwarded to Patrick Vives, Etesia’s president, they offered a machine with their full support.
"The next challenge was to work with an appropriate charity. Lindsey Churchill of Perennial was extremely active on the network and I felt Perennial were more closely aligned, helping the horticulture practitioner, with what the Landscape Juice Network does than anyone else out there.
"So I contacted Lindsey and here we are now. We’re also looking for a similar charity to work with in France."
Phil runs the Landscape Juice Network website that lets those involved in the horticultural industry to share advice, pass on tips, feature their work and also offer help and support to fellow members.
And it was through the website that Etesia and Perenial were able to be in contact with users of their services, both to keep up to date with their questions as well as discuss issues within the wider horticulture industry.
"During the trip through France and the UK I intend to stop to mow at special locations, which will be revealed closer to the start of the journey," said Phil.
"Ultimately, if we can help people in these trying economic times to realise that they can ask for help to sort out their finances or to offer advice in times of mental illness or other sickness then I will be more than pleased."
To find out more about the Mowerthon visit www.hortaid.org.uk or if you would like to donate, please visit www.justgiving.com/mowerthon.
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