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The following is an article that first appeared in
the ’21st Anniversary 1959 – 1980′ publication researched and edited by Maurice Hewins.
“Now it’s all a memory” by Jack Stacey
It all started with a visit from Peter Watts, who was then Club Leader of Young Farnham. “Great news” he said, “I have managed to get the manager of the Odeon Cinema, Guildford, to sponsor the Hedgehogs on a London to Brighton Safari Race”.
After we had picked ourselves up from the floor, and somewhat recovered from the shock, we decided to ask him for further details. Peter emerged from the broom cupboard to explain.
The race was to sponsor a film called “Call Me Bwana” starring Bob Hope and Anita Ekberg, and would take place on Sunday, 7th April 1963. It would consist of two hundred runners, making up ten teams, with twenty men in each. A safari type litter would be supplied by the organisers. It would be sturdily built to enable the team to carry the pretty girl over the fifty-mile course. Our litter fell to pieces after the first half mile, but who was to know that at the time.
Four men would carry the litter, complete with girl passenger, and the course would be divided into ten five-mile relay stages. Each group of four would carry the litter over two of these stages. Peter then went on to explain about the fantastic prizes that awaited the winners. First they would be presented with a cheque for one hundred guineas, made out to the charity of their choice, and secondly a beautiful rose bowl to be kept by the team forever more. The prizes would be handed over by no less a person than the one and only Sabrina. These two points decided us that we should take part. (I am still not certain to this day what two points they had in mind)
Everything then became very serious, and an intensive training scheme was set into motion. A makeshift litter was made, which consisted of a large log slung between two poles. Teams of four men undertook to carry, in relays, this contraption from the Marlborough Head to The Seven Stars and back. One group of four became over ambitious, and tried to make it as far as the Duke of Cambridge. This proved to be too much for them and caused great anxiety amongst the rest of the team members as to whether they would recover in time for the race proper. Fortunately all was well and the great day dawned.