One man has completed a 1,250 mile journey on a ride-on lawn mower in aid of national horticulture charity Perennial. Phil Voice chugged into John O’Groats today (15 October) on the ride-on mower, successfully completing the epic ‘Hortaid Mowerthon’, raising funds and awareness for Perennial.
Phil Voice of the Landscape Juice Network set off from Bergerac in France on the Etesia ride-on mower on 1 October. With a top speed of just 10 mph, the journey was hard going, but he successfully reached John O’Groats exactly two weeks later.
“The Mowerthon was one of the most exciting adventures I’ve ever undertaken – over ten hours a day chugging along on the mower, being exposed to rain, wind and even hail and a nasty case of throttle foot. I want to thank everyone who has donated so far for their generosity and everyone who supported me when I was out on the road.”
Perennial provides free, confidential advice, emotional support and financial assistance to people of all ages working in or retired from horticulture and their spouses, partners and children. The charity helps professionals such as gardeners, landscapers, tree surgeons, greenkeepers, plantsmen and groundsmen Its work depends entirely on voluntary donations from the horticulture industry and the garden-loving public, and the funds raised from the Mowerthon will be invaluable to the charity’s ongoing work to help individuals and families such as that of John Foley, BBC Young Gardener of the Year 2012:
“Perennial helped my family when my Dad became ill and all the family went through a difficult time. The Caseworker visited us regularly. They paid for my school trips and driving lessons so I could drive the van to flower shows. And they helped me access
funding so I could go to Askham Bryan Horticultural College and complete my studies. Now I have a wonderful future and life is good for me.”
Phil explains his motivation for undertaking the challenge:
"In the course of my work running the Landscape Juice Network over the last six years, I have come into contact and helped many people who are struggling financially, mentally or as a result of poor health. The horticulture industry has faced a difficult time this year so Perennial is needed now, more than ever.”
Phil used an Etesia H124 Professional ride-on mower and was supported by Etesia, their
dealers and staff in France and the UK along his journey. The mower was the same as a
commercially available machine used by local authorities and gardeners, but fitted with a cab to cope with the unpredictable weather.
Forecourt Fuels Ltd, one of the UK’s largest fixed price fuel card providers supplied Phil with a fuel card at cost price for his UK leg. Tremendous support was also been received from a wide range of UK landscape companies including South East England based Affinity Landscapes, a commercial landscape maintenance and grounds care business, which pledged to cover 50% of the fuel bill, keeping costs to Perennial at a minimum.