Last November, Jai Claydon and his friend completed a hitchhiking challenge to fundraise for Trinity. He speaks about why he took on this challenge and the difference Trinity has made for him and his family.

“Trinity has played such an important role in how much they cared for my mum and the support they provided to our family during a very difficult time. When my mother was under Trinity’s care, I was very young, only seven years old. It was very difficult to process information about terminal illness when you are at such a young age.  It was a very sad and challenging time, but the staff at Trinity always helped to make our visits as enjoyable as possible. While it was heart-breaking to say goodbye, I now find it comforting that I have some happy memories of the last few months spent with my mum.

I will always be grateful for the support I received from Trinity, who has helped to make a very strange and difficult time much more bearable.

Whenever I get an opportunity to fundraise, I will always try to give back to Trinity, knowing that only a small proportion of the work that they do is being funded. So, when I heard about this hitchhiking challenge, I was very keen to participate and decided to take part for Trinity.

I teamed up with a friend for this challenge and we had to race other teams from Bristo square in Edinburgh to Paris in the quickest time possible without any money spent. We were dressed in a squirrel and a crocodile onesie respectively, hoping to be more approachable to strangers who would give us a lift. We had many fears before we left, such as not making it or being kidnapped, but we tried to focus on the journey itself and were quite excited at the thought of meeting different people along the way.

The journey was filled with challenges but I feel very proud now that we have successfully completed it. We managed to reach Paris in less than the 48 hour goal, completing the journey in 36 hours, solely depending on the generosity of strangers. We are also delighted to have raised just over £1000 for Trinity. Upon reflection, one of the most significant lessons that I have learnt from this journey is perseverance, where the biggest challenge we faced was persevering in times even when it looked like we might never get a lift. It can be easy to lose your head at times, especially when we were both exhausted and desperate. However, we managed to stay relatively calm throughout and continued with the journey.

For example, when we were at Dover waiting for a lift that would ideally take us to Paris, everyone drove by and looked straight ahead. Coupled with the stormy weather, we were losing hope. We also found out that the ferries across the channel were cancelled due to poor weather conditions. The storm made our whole situation seemed even bleaker, and the chances of getting a lift at that time seemed very unlikely. However, we pressed on the next few hours and thankfully, we were eventually picked up by a French family and were taken on a channel tunnel diversion. This turned out to be for the better and sped up our journey drastically. The family also offered us a contribution, which allowed us to take a short train ride to our target station, Gard du Nord, helping us to reach our final destination within the given time.

By completing this journey, it has given me perspective with the daily challenges that I am faced with. I will always remember how we managed to overcome the obstacles and feelings of despair. As my teammate mentioned, sometimes challenges can be blessings in disguise.

Learn more about fundraising for Trinity

Find out more about bereavement support

Please select a donation amount (required)
Set up a regular payment Donate