Our names are Colin Batchelor and Andrew Ryder, and we have been firm friends for many years. Our mothers were best friends before we were born, and it seemed only natural that would continue.
Following losses to both families from cancer, we decided that we would like to do something to help those people who are affected – but what? By chance, I was reading LRO and saw an article on the Macmillan 4x4 UK Challenge.
I showed the article to Andrew, and we decided this was it.
I was recovering from a quadruple heart bypass and I needed a challenge. This gave me something to focus on, and what better cause than Macmillan Cancer Support, and so we formed Team Chaos – which now boasts my two sons as well as our support drivers.
Our main vehicle is a 1995 Discovery 300 Tdi. Over the past few years, this vehicle has been modified and adapted to enable us to be more competitive during the challenge events, while still retaining the everyday comfort that is essential when we are carrying patients from various hospices on off-road days out that we organise.
As you would expect, the vehicle is heavily protected against damage. Some of these modifications include the usual such as steering guards, rock sliders, heavy duty bumpers front and rear and diff guards. To enable us to be self- sufficient in the event of the vehicle getting stuck, it is also equipped with a front winch bumper and a 9500lb winch. We also boast twin satellite navigation systems, so that we always know exactly where we are either off-road or on the public highway – which is vital in the event of a problem with one of our guests.
Recently, we were fortunate enough to have an electric person lift kindly donated to us. This now makes the transfer of our guests from their wheelchairs to the vehicle much easier and less stressful for all concerned.
So far, we have competed in the Macmillan Challenge three times, and have achieved second place in the Night Navigation (2004), where we raised in excess of £3600, and joint first place for the highest sponsorship raised award (2006) – managing to hand over in excess of £6000 to Macmillan. In 2008 we managed again to achieve the highest sponsorship award with a total in excess of £12,000. This trophy means more to us than any other, although if anyone does beat us it is not the end of the world as it is all the better for Macmillan.
Although we continued raising money for Macmillan, we thought it was time that we had direct contact with the people that we are trying to help. In our first visit to Pasque Hospice, Bedfordshire we gave a short talk about off-roading in general and the aims and ambitions of Team Chaos in particular. Owing to the physical difficulties that some of the people suffer from, it was a great surprise to them that we were able to set up a winching demonstration where they were able to literally drag a Ford Sierra backwards, just by pressing a single-button remote control for the winch. The vehicle caused quite a stir and the questions came in thick and fast. This surprised us and proved that we were dealing with real enthusiasts.
We visited Barnhill Farm in Whaddon and were lucky enough to be granted free use of the land by the owner, Doug Lowe. Our guests loved it; we drove them through mud, water, up and down hills and through ruts that you couldn’t walk through. The smile on the group members’ faces and also the helpers and nurses made it all worthwhile.
The siblings, parents and also the Macmillan Nurses do seem to be overlooked when people think of the patients but they are also deeply affected, so we also arrange trips for them as well. My philosophy is this – if we can get people away from the pressures and sadness that they are suffering from, even for just a short time, then our efforts are worthwhile.
Our sponsors are our lifeblood. Without them we would not be able to raise such large amounts for Macmillan or be able to take the hospice patients on day trips. We do all that we can to promote our sponsors: on our website; on radio interviews; newspaper features; and by having any signage supplied to us affixed to the Team Chaos Discovery. If we do not have the money to cover the cost of, for example, a day trip, then the drivers will cover the cost themselves. For the Macmillan 4x4 UK Challenge 2004 and 2006, two of our corporate sponsors provided the fuel for the event. Space prohibits mentioning them all, but we extend our grateful thanks.
This owner review appeared in the January 2009 issue of LRO. Current and Back issues are available to download on digital devices here. Please note, we only hold stocks of the the last three back issues.