All good things…
He’s calling it The Grand Finale, so is 2019 going to be the end of the road for Geoff Major, the intrepid Yorkshire fundraising adventurer who has a taste for the unusual? beyond went along to find out what he’s up to now.
I n 2009, Geoff Major saw an advert for a fundraising cycle ride across Cuba and, at a loss as to what to do with his new-found time and energy; he signed up and started training.
Now, 10 years later, he has organised and taken part in events that have raised over £125,000 for a variety of charities.
We first covered his adventures when he started training for his ski-trek to the North Pole back in 2011 and have been reporting on his incredible exploits ever since.
Since then he’s trekked across the Sahara; donned a 1930s deep sea divers kit to go underwater, rowed the Thames, cycled as part of Le Grand Depart on a seven-seat circular bike and endured a 24hr non-stop karting challenge.
As you can imagine, after all that – and so much more – we were surprised to hear that 2019 could be the final year of adventures.
Geoff explained “I have three challenges lined up for 2019 already, plus a secret one that will be one of the most demanding in every sense but, as anyone in the fundraising world knows, it takes a lot of effort to get things organised and to recruit people.
“I’ll continue to do some exciting things in my life, but yes; 2019 will be the end of Involve Adventures as people currently know it”.
He added “Over the last decade I’ve taken away some incredible experiences, met some amazing new friends and I have so many people to thank for making my hobby as fulfilling as it has been. “People like Martin Ladbrooke and his son Luke who, along with Luke’s friend Scott Allin, are hoping to take part in their fourth Involve Adventure next year.
“There’s Mark Evans of Better Telecoms, who has taken part in three challenges, whilst also doing his own wonderful charity work and being a regular sponsor of my events.”
“And then there’s Howard and Kathryn of Rushfirth Creative, who approached me back in 2011 to offer their fantastic creativity in support of the polar trek before creating a series of avatars for each of my adventures”.
So after so many adventures and experiences, what has been the stand-out moment he treasures the most?
“Oh, that’s easy, reaching the North Pole,” comes the reply.
Geoff’s eyes moisten a little and we listen as he recalls not only the year-long preparation, training and the trek itself; but how it brought the memory of his late father to the forefront of his mind as he reached to Pole itself.
“Even now I read the blog entry I wrote back in April 2012 and the lump rises in my throat when I re-read the final sentence: ‘a posthumous message to my Dad.’”
After reminiscing about that life-changing achievement, thoughts turn to the future and what next year’s final charity extravaganza will bring.
It turns out that as well as a trek to Machu Picchu, another 24hr non-stop karting event and his fledgling annual fundraiser for the blind; Geoff is happy to share the exciting news about how he is supporting Yorkshire County Cricket Club’s official charity foundation in its 10th anniversary year.
Talking about the collaboration, Geoff said: “I met Will Saville, YCCC Head of Foundation, several months ago and we began talking about ideas for fundraising. From that initial chat it grew into a discussion about how Involve Adventures could mark it’s 10th year by supporting the Yorkshire Cricket Foundation’s landmark year too.”
Geoff’s plan is to not only act as a member of the ideas committee with Will and his team, but to also complete 10 mini-challenges in 10 weeks, across the summer of 2019.
The Yorkshire Cricket Foundation is the official charity and community arm of Yorkshire County Cricket Club and talking about the work they do, Will explained: “We deliver community projects across the county and look to use the power of cricket to help focus communities on four themes: health and wellbeing; education; heritage, and participation.
“As it’s our 10-year anniversary next year, we wanted to do something extra special to mark the occasion, so when Geoff and I got talking about the idea of doing 10 for 10, it was a perfect fit for both of us.
“We’ve grown significantly since our inception in 2009, with our projects constantly improving and growing and we’re always looking for new ways to fundraise for our charity;
Geoff has taken on some amazing challenges over the past 10 years and we’re delighted to be working with him next year on some really exciting new ones.”
While Geoff wouldn’t disclose just what he has in store for 2019 he hinted that some of the planned activities will involve swimming, climbing, pulling a very unusual but very heavy weight, and of course, something with the seven-seat bike.
The YCF are planning a series of other fantastic fundraising events for next year, so make sure you check their website yorkshirecricketfoundation.com to find out more about the fantastic work they do which is so much more than just about playing cricket.
As for Geoff, don’t expect him to be going anywhere quietly because if this is his last year, you can be sure of one thing, he’ll be going out with a bang. #TheGrandFinale