• Tue. Dec 5th, 2023

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Fundraising appeal from Darlington health club members for extreme Gambian challenge after Thomas Cook collapse


Two amateur athletes are appealing to the public for fundraising support for their 10 in 10 Gambia Challenge following the collapse of Thomas Cook.

Tom Walker and Michael Bleasby, both 24, are devastated their trip to The Gambia could be at risk after booking their travel with the doomed holiday provider.

The Darlington duo, who have been training at Bannatyne Darlington, have issued an appeal on the health club’s blog for extra funds to help get their essential support team out to The Gambia for the challenge.

Tom and Michael will run 260 miles in 10 days to support Mind, the Chemotherapy Unit at Darlington Memorial Hospital and various projects in the poverty-stricken African country.

The pair plan to travel to The Gambia in early December with their support team, when the temperature is around 35 – 40 degrees.

In the appeal, Tom said: “It saddened us to see the collapse of one of the UK’s most trusted travel companies, Thomas Cook, which saw more than one million people, including our 10 in 10 team, affected as a result of ceasing trading.

“We understand that there are people who are in a far worse position than ourselves, with some people having weddings cancelled and losing their jobs – our hearts go out to everyone affected in some way.

“We need your help now, more than ever before to raise the £10,000 we set out to achieve and if possible, raise more to help the people of The Gambia during this hard time.”

Lee Miller, regional sales manager at the Bannatyne Group, said: “We are devastated to hear the news about Tom and Michael’s challenge being set back by the Thomas Cook situation.

“As we have supported their journey up to now, we want to do everything we can to help get them and their support team on their way.”

To support Tom and Michael’s 10 in 10 Gambia Challenge, please visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/10in10gambiachallenge.