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MADPRIDE

Last November  couple of friends and I were talking about how fantastic it would be to go to Poland to follow Ireland as we had just been to the playoff second leg and are big football nuts, eventually we decided we were going and to accommodate  our budget we planned to buy a camper and drive over. We booked the ferry first and then set about purchasing a camper. We settled on a 1987 Mercedes 709d ex 26 seater bus which was semi converted, hadn’t been driven in 4 years and needed a lot of work. We started work on it about 3 months before departure date and we needed every minute of the 3 months as our 5 visits to the D.O.E will testify. When there seemed to be a bit of light at the end of the tunnel  and it looked like the bus might make it I decided to try and raise a few bob/awareness for a charity. A good friend of mine in Wales had recently setup his own charity called CHAT community health advice and training for people with mental illness, he inspired me to try and do something for other people so I contacted Madpride Ireland and asked if we could help out in any way, Mad pride Ireland is an Irish mental health group that fights for the rights of the mad community and promotes the normality of madness. I had heard their founder John McCarthy interviewed on the Matt Cooper show Last November and he left a lasting impression, sadly John passed away in January this year from  motor Neurone disease. I contacted his son David and we set the wheels in motion, (after we got the new tyres). A lot of people said the charity suited us as anyone that seen the camper asked are ye mad? Driving to Poland in that. A lot of requests to track our progress on line started me searching for a way to track our 3 day journey across the UK and mainland Europe. I was very fortunate that when I contacted Satcom and spoke with Noel and told him our story that he agreed to help us out. Satcom arranged for the service engineer to travel to Limerick and fit the tracking device to the camper and setup the link on the mad pride Ireland website so people could follow our progress live online. The service provided by Satcom free of charge was first class and they did a real professional job from the service engineer to the telephone support helping out on every detail. I have to admit the unit that Satcom fitted to the camper was the only thing that did not break down on the trip. So everyone following our progress could see that we had an unscheduled stop in Clonmel due to an oil leak, travelled from Fishguard to Dover averaging over 70mph (lost all engine oil) spent nearly 5 hours in Calais trying to fix oil leak, stopped off in Eindhoven on the way to meet an old friend and arrived in Poznan on the Saturday before the first match.


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