Epic 1,250 mile charity mower challenge hits the UK

Look out for a man on a mower on the roads of the UK over the coming weeks. An epic Mowerthon is under way. One man is driving 1,250 miles on an Etesia H124 ride-on mower to raise £10,000 and awareness for national horticulture charity Perennial.

Perennial provides free, confidential advice, emotional support and financial assistance to people of all ages working in or retired from horticulture and their spouses, partners and children. The charity helps professionals such as gardeners, landscapers, tree surgeons, greenkeepers, plantsmen and groundsmen Its work depends entirely on voluntary donations from the horticulture industry and the garden-loving public, and the funds raised from the Mowerthon will be invaluable to the charity’s ongoing work to help individuals and families such as that of John Foley, BBC Young Gardener of the Year 2012:

“Perennial helped my family when my Dad became ill and all the family went through a difficult time. The Caseworker visited us regularly. They paid for my school trips and driving lessons so I could drive the van to flower shows. And they helped me access funding so I could go to Askham Bryan Horticultural College and complete my studies. Now I have a wonderful future and life is good for me.”

The ‘HortAid Mowerthon’ will see Phil Voice of the Landscape Juice Network driving the Etesia ride-on mower from Bergerac in France all the way to John O’Groats in Scotland. Phil set off on his 1,250 mile (2,000 km) journey on 1st October from his home in France and landed on to UK soil in Portsmouth on Saturday 6 October 2012.

Phil explains his motivation: “I’m always thinking of ways to help, and sitting at my desk one day I thought about walking from Lands’ End to John O’Groats to raise money for charity, but this had already been done,” commented 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 UK which he forwarded to Patrick Vives, Etesia’s President, they offered a machine with their full support.”

Phil is calling on motorists, gardeners and horticulturalists from across the UK to show their support by honking and tweeting if you spot him (#mowerthon #iveseenphil), following his progress via the Landscape Juice Network blog and donating online or via free text. (Text HORT47 to 70070 or visit www.justgiving.com/mowerthon)

Phil will be supported by Etesia, their dealers and staff in France and the UK throughout his journey. The mower, used by local authorities and gardeners, has been fitted with a cab to cope with the unpredictable weather and has a top speed of just 10mph, yet he hopes to complete the journey in around two weeks.

Forecourt Fuels Ltd, one of the UK’s largest fixed price fuel card providers has supplied Phil with a fuel card at cost price for his UK leg. Tremendous support has also been received from a wide range of UK landscape companies including South East England based Affinity Landscapes, a commercial landscape maintenance and grounds care business, which has pledged to cover 50% of the fuel bill, keeping costs to Perennial at a minimum.

Social media will play a huge part in securing further free services en route including accommodation and refreshments.