Recent articles

  • Day 75 : Tuesday May 25th. RTU

    Brother James had not been in his home country, England, since the early 1970s and he'd not had a plate of chips since. I'd not had any chips myself for two an a half months and I was feeling it. But 40 years was a bit much! The poor man needed sorting out. Something had to be done.
  • Day 82 : Tuesday June 1st. Chennai to London

    This was a strange day, because it didn't really have a beginning it just carried on from the previous day, because I hadn't slept the night before.
  • Day 80 : Sunday May 30th. Chennai

    In the morning there was a fire nearby and a huge cloud of thick black smoke formed. It didn't look at all healthy. After about 30 minutes or so, the first fire engine appeared. It wouldn't be the last.
  • Day 77 : Thursday May 27th. RTU

    I'd set off from Manchester with the aim of raising £8,000 to build ten quality homes for ten poor families to replace homes like this one. I wanted to see houses under construction before leaving RTU.
  • Day 72 Saturday 22nd May. RTU

    Brother James had disappeared to Bodi, a couple of days before, as he tends to spend three or four days there each week, and I'd been prevented from going to see him there as, apparently, Brother James thought I would be 'taking too much of a risk' if I went there by motorcycle. This was a bit rich coming from a man who, at 85, is still riding on a two-wheeler around RTU.
  • Day 74 : Monday May 24th. RTU

    For some reason, there was a big staff meeting for all the departments of RTU, and it was to be held at a different venue - a village where RTU was doing some work. This was a perfect opportunity for me to escape to Kodaikanal - if I could get my hands on a motorcycle.
  • Day 73 Sunday 23rd May. Brother James 85 today.

    It was 23rd May, Bro Jim's 85th birthday! I'd cycled a long way for a slice of his birthday cake, and, thankfully, Jo and David Cassidy, two very special old friends of Brother Jim, had sent a beautiful cake.
  • Day 76 : Wednesday May 26th. RTU

    Having read about some of the terrible family backgrounds of some of the children under the care of RTU, visiting RTU's 'Miriam Children's Village' was a most delightful and humbling experience, a genuine highlight of my stay at RTU.
  • Day 79 : Saturday May 29th. Chennai

    The plan was to spend the time updating the website, but there was a power cut which lasted for around 8 hours. There was nothing anyone could do. The substation at the local Polytechnic had blown up.
  • Day 78 : Friday May 28th. Chennai

    St Thomas, one of the twelve Apostles, came to India in 52A.D. And he died there as a martyr in 72A.D. He was buried at Mylapore, San Thome, Chennai and the Basilica of St Thomas is built over the tomb - one of only three churches in the world built over the tomb of an Apostle.
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What's it all about?

 - click for full size image

I had hoped to raise £8000 in aid of 'Reaching the Unreached' to build ten good quality homes for ten poor families as I set off on my pedal bike on 12th March 2010.

I wanted to visit my old friend Bro James Kimpton fsc. in South India, and to be with him on his 85th Birthday on 23rd May.

The response has been amazing and the total raised so far is shown below. Now I'm back home and there is a NEW plan...

2777
miles cycled so far

The NEW PLAN – following a request from Brother James

I'm back with my family after 2777 cycled miles and 83 days away. In the end, I did manage to be with Brother James on his birthday, but I had to take some short cuts due to sickness and heat exhaustion. In India I covered large distances on the days I cycled, despite the crazy heat, but this was largely because of the absence of the easterly winds that had slowed me down so effectively for 2000 miles across Europe. Nevertheless, when I became ill in India, I became very ill.

The sponsorship total reached exactly £8,000 on my birthday and it is still rising! It is an excellent total! I now know the fund will exceed £10,000 because of promises I have received. I wish to thank every single person who has has contributed to this fund, or who intends to contribute. The steady stream of donations to RTU also helped me to keep me going when I really didn't feel up to it. The fund now needs to remain open because of the request from Brother James :

A request from Brother James.

While I was with him, Brother James asked if some of the money collected could be used to cover the cost of corrective surgery for disabled children because over the two and a half months I spent travelling to India, large numbers of severely disabled children had been identified as being in need of this surgery. It has become a new priority.

Each operation costs in the region of £250, and at the time of my visit, about 20 operations had already been completed. Brother James established the Nagathoji Fund earlier in the year, specifically to pay for the corrective surgery needed by disabled children, like Nagathoji. Following the success of the first operations, more children have come forward.

More information about this Nagathoji Fund appears at the bottom of this page.

In response to his request, and with your approval, I would like to recommend to Brother James that 50% of the total fund be used for the housing programme, and 50% for corrective surgery for the children. I know this would be his preference too.

My New Plan :

SIX family houses will be constructed costing £4,800 (6 x £800) this work can start immediately.

TWENTY children will have the corrective surgery (20 x £250 = £5,000) this can also start now.

If additional donations are received, 100% will go towards corrective surgery for the children and all Gift Aid received will go towards the operations for the children.

If you have any feelings about this plan, please let me know through the 'Messages' section of this website. (Please remember to complete the small calculation at the bottom of the form – this is to control the flow of SPAM)

Thank you for all your donations to RTU and for the support you have given me, through the many messages, texts, telephone conversations, tips, prayers and good wishes. I will keep the fund open until we have built six houses and completed all the operations for children. If more and more children appear needing operations, I will keep trying to raise funds to cover the costs – probably principally by speaking to groups about the work of RTU and my journey to India.

The OLD PLAN - Why I set off in the first place

I had worked with Brother James as a volunteer for 3 years from 1978, but I'd never been back. I knew he would be 85 on 23rd May and I wanted to be with him on his birthday.

He has been helping the poorest of the poor for over 60 years, quietly but consistently seeing desperate poverty and acting on it. This is the way 'Reaching the Unreached' operates. I know this first hand. I knew he would not return to England and I would not fly to Madurai, the nearest airport, so alternative transportation was required. Since I didn't have a car but did possess a pedal bike, I decided to cycle as far as I could whilst avoiding big trouble, such as the various war zones in the way and I hoped people would sponsor me as I headed towards RTU.

In February, after writing to Brother James, the plan to try to raise funds to build decent homes for ten poor families was set. With help from my friends at Dial Solutions, I constructed the website, and a page at JustGiving, and prepared letters and sponsorship forms for my family, friends and anyone who preferred to donate 'off-line'.

www.justgiving.com/PaulsJourney was set up for those who prefer to give 'online'.

At the moment I set off, I didn't actually know how I would get to India, but I intended to find a way, via Istanbul. I wanted to get a ride on a ship from Istanbul to Mumbai, but this proved very difficult to arrange. Other things went wrong and you can find out what happened from day to day in the 'Journal' section of this website. I tried to update the website as often as I could, but access to the internet was intermittent. Nevertheless, there is a story for each day of my journey from leaving home to arriving back home.

Thank you for your interest in what we have tried to do. I do not have the words to even begin to express the extent of my gratitude for the countless acts of kindness I have witnessed since commencing my journey, but I can state that every donation to RTU, every kind act and every good wish I received, every telephone conversation and text message, every public message on the website and every email helped me to continue. Thank you for your interest, kindness and amazing generosity.

What's it all about?

I had hoped to raise £8000 in aid of 'Reaching the Unreached' to build ten good quality homes for ten poor families as I set off on my pedal bike on 12th March 2010.

I wanted to visit my old friend Bro James Kimpton fsc. in South India, and to be with him on his 85th Birthday on 23rd May.

The response has been amazing and the total raised so far is shown below. Now I'm back home and there is a NEW plan...

 - click for full size image