Simon tots up half-a-million skips to fund lifesaving loos
Simon Bramwell has literally skipped to the loo – with a 12-month keep-fit marathon to raise funds for lifesaving lavatories overseas.
The father-of-two from New Malden set himself the ambitious target of completing half-a-million skips in a year. Just 12 days short of his December 31 deadline, he has totted up 500,000 turns of the rope and raised almost £2,000.
Simon, 42, has been raising funds for Toilet Twinning, which helps provide proper loos, clean water and hygiene training in some of the poorest communities in the world. It invites people to ‘twin’ their loo at home with a latrine overseas for a £60 donation, and so sponsor a toilet for a family abroad.
He completed his skipathon at the indoor tennis courts at Reed’s School in Cobham on December 19, after skipping on 295 days this year. ‘I counted my skips each day and then logged them in a spreadsheet – good mental discipline too. People will have to trust me on the numbers!’
His regime involved 1,500 skips a day in short stints of about 11 minutes. Until July, he was a French teacher and was sometimes seen skipping in the school grounds. On a bad day, he could be skipping at midnight. In July, he skipped in six European countries within 48 hours as the family drove back from his wife Dala’s native Hungary. ‘I attracted a few strange looks, but nothing new there!’
One of the prompts for his skipathon was a six-week visit last year to Madagascar where Dala worked in a mission hospital: Simon describes it as a ‘powerful experience’. He was particularly moved by watching a disabled man with withered legs having to drag himself across the ground, through the dirt, to go to a pit latrine.
‘We realised how fundamental it is to have somewhere safe to go to the toilet: it’s something we take completely for granted,’ says Simon. ‘I’d seen Toilet twinning certificates in people’s loos and I liked the idea because there’s something very concrete about funding a toilet. Taking on this challenge was a great opportunity to do something for a good cause and help keep fit into the bargain.’
Toilet Twinning CEO Lorraine Kingsley says: ‘We’ve had people “running for the loo” and doing squatting competitions in aid of toilets but skipping is a new one on us! Simon’s such a good sport and it’s so inspiring that he’s been so determined and sustained his skipping all year. We are hugely grateful to him!’
To sponsor Simon retrospectively, visit http://uk.virginmoneygiving.co