John Yates from Plaistow, West Sussex, is walking approximately 300 miles from Chester to his home whilst pulling a custom-made cart in aid of working horse and donkey charity, Brooke. The cart is loaded with food, water and cooking equipment, and converts into a bed for John each night. The challenge takes place from 28 September to around 19 October.
Right: John mid way through building his cart
John wants his challenge to highlight the vital contribution of working horses, donkeys and mules around the world. In developing countries, people rely on these animals to transport water, food, heavy bricks and other building materials on a daily basis. Brooke is a UK based charity that works with owners and communities to ensure a better standard of welfare for these animals. Their teams train local vets, farriers and harness makers, work nationally with governments, and internationally with policy makers to improve animal welfare laws and standards.
John started his challenge at Brooke’s Art Exhibition at Chester Military Museum on the afternoon of Saturday 28 September, being waved off by Brooke staff and supporters.
John intends to walk approximately 15 miles a day and his route will take him past Shrewsbury, Worcester, Gloucester, Swindon, Salisbury and Winchester before ending in his hometown of Plaistow around three weeks later on Saturday 19 October.
John, who has a fundraising target of £4000, said: “It’s not just about raising money, it’s about raising awareness of how hard horses and donkeys work in the developing world. I’ve spoken to people and they didn’t realise a mule will pull a tonne of bricks a time in an Indian brick kiln, and that’s without mentioning the incredibly hot conditions and poor welfare.”
The cart was designed by John himself and weighs around 50kg. At night, the cart will become a micro-camper-van, providing John with a bed for the night.
John is no stranger to taking on tough challenges for charity, last year he completed a 900 mile cycle ride for the Senior Staffy Club, which rescues and rehomes Staffordshire Bull Terriers and Staff Cross dogs aged seven years and up. He said: “It’s all about education. I want to raise awareness for all animals in need and this year I’m focusing on working horses and donkeys.”
To donate to John’s fundraising challenge, visit his JustGiving page.