John Yates, Chester
John Yates from Plaistow, West Sussex, has completed a 300-mile cart-pulling challenge and raised almost £1700 in aid of working horse and donkey charity, Brooke.

Starting from Chester on the 28 September, John made his way through Shrewsbury, Kidderminster, Worcester, Gloucester, Cirencester, Swindon and Salisbury before reaching his home in the South Downs on 29 October. The cart weighed 50kg and was designed by John himself to act as a mini-camper-van, providing him with a bed to sleep in each night.

Wet weather and winds meant that John’s challenge was even tougher than expected.

He said:

“Having completed similar endurance challenges in the past, I was prepared for the physical demands. However, the rain made things really difficult. Getting into a wet bed in the evening was pretty horrible!”

However, it was John’s interactions with members of the public which made his journey worthwhile, with many stopping to hear about Brooke’s work and even buying him breakfast on several occasions.

John Yates, Chester

He added:

“I knew that people would be generous but I didn’t expect to meet so many people who wanted to discuss animal welfare in general. I’m generally quite an introverted person and could probably live quite happily on an island on my own but it was amazing to meet so many people, and having the opportunity to talk about subjects I’m passionate about was so rewarding. It made the cold nights and damp days worth it!”

A particularly poignant section of the route was the day John spent in Salisbury, the birthplace of Brooke founder Dorothy Brooke, on 25 October. Here, he was joined by the charity’s CEO, Petra Ingram, who joined John for an afternoon of walking and discussion.

Throughout the challenge, it was John’s priority to highlight the 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 every day.

John said:

“It’s not just about raising money, it’s about raising awareness. People were shocked to hear that there are 100 million working horses, donkeys and mules around the world!”

Brooke works across Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America to make long-lasting improvements to the lives of these animals and the people who depend on them.

Looking ahead, John is already making plans for his next fundraiser.

He concluded:

“I’m going to redesign the cart for next year. Having spent three weeks sleeping in it, I’ve got a few ideas on how to improve it! Next year, I want to have a broader focus on rescue animals and highlight several smaller charities and the amazing people who volunteer their time.”

You can still donate to John’s challenge at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/300-mile-cart-challenge

For more information on Brooke, visit www.thebrooke.org