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Press Release: For Immediate Release – 14th Feb, 2020
Queen Bee regaining her buzz as team visits Kolkata Goonj
- UK and Indian specialists in race to repair the Challenge car
- Challenge team confident of remaining on schedule for finish
- Team visits Goonj’s Kolkata Distribution Centre
The Trans-India Challenge Morgan 3-Wheeler, “Queen Bee”, is set to regain her buzz after the car was safely transported to the Bangalore Harley Davidson Centre in Kolkata having lost power just 40km from Gopalpur.
The Challenge’s main drivers, husband and wife Pat and Alan Braithwaite from the UK, completed the second leg of the 3,500 mile (5,600km) road adventure in team support vehicles. Meanwhile, specialist technicians are now confident of winning the race against time to have Queen Bee fully fit and back on the road for Leg Three to New Delhi.
Having arrived safely in Kolkata, the couple visited Goonj’s main Processing and Distribution Centre based in Arupota. They, along with Deputy High Commissioner to Kolkata Mr Nick Low, saw how items such as textiles, utensils and books – contributed by the city’s population – were assessed, sorted and packed into family, education and business restart ‘kits’.
The kits are used as ‘currency’ in payment for work undertaken by rural families and communities to improve their own local environment. This includes cleaning ponds, building irrigation dams and developing schools. Goonj also produces ‘My Pad’ menstrual hygiene packs made from recycled cotton which are distributed in the kits and also at education sessions delivered to women and men in rural communities.
Commenting on the events of recent days, Alan Braithwaite said: “We called it the Trans-India Challenge because we knew it would be just that: a challenge. In reality, thanks to a number of amazing specialists and supporters here in India and back in the UK, it looks like we will remain on schedule for the next leg of the trip. We will be delighted to step back into Queen Bee and head off on the third stage of this incredible adventure”
He added: “We have not missed the opportunity to visit Goonj field centres, meet their partner organisations and the communities themselves. Having now seen this first-hand, Pat and I are beginning to understand the scale of the work Goonj undertakes, the collaborative relationship they have with their partners and the communities, and the level of transformation simple ideas and recycled textiles and other materials can have on the long-term welfare and dignity of these communities. It is mind-blowing and we are proud that we can, in a very small way, help to make India and the wider world aware of this life-changing work.”
Mr. Nick Low, British Deputy High Commissioner to Kolkata said: “I’m delighted to associate with Goonj’s good works in Kolkata and across India. I am full of admiration for Alan and Pat Braithwaite’s fundraising efforts. Altruism through contributing time or money to good causes is another example of something that unites our two great countries. I’m proud to support eight different good causes through monthly contributions and urge others who’ve thought about offering time or money but never got round to it to take the plunge.”
With the Challenge aiming to raise £200,000 (1.8 crore rupees) for Goonj, the total amount now pledged by individuals – along with supporters Ralph Lauren, Morgan Motor Company, World Wise Foods, Bearing Point, E-Cargo Bikes and the UK’s GREAT brand – has reached almost £75,000 (92 lakh rupees). Those wishing to support the Challenge can visit www.transindiachallenge.com or the Give.Asia website and search for Trans-India Challenge.
Assisted by the CEO of the West India Automobile Association, Mr Nitin Dossa, as well as Cherian Skariah’s TLC Assistance Company, and senior technicians from the Morgan Motor Company and Morgan specialists Krazy Horse back in the UK, parts for Queen Bee have already arrived in Kolkata, with the car being worked on by Harley Davidson’s senior technical team.
If nothing else, the latest drama will certainly add to the tension for the full-length feature documentary being filmed as part of the Challenge and due for release later in 2020.