THE Hunts Post has declared May to be Magpas month to highlight the work of the emergency medical charity and to help raise money to ensure it can continue its life-saving work.In the second of our special reports, HYWEL BARRETT met a doctor who experienced the highs and lows of an unsupported bike tour around the edge of South America to raise money for Magpas.
BRIBED, burgled and broken ribs – just the norms for a biker circumnavigating South America for charity.
Dr Chris ‘Tigger’ Targett has arrived home after his 19,500-mile tour of the continent to raise money for Magpas which saw him crash four times, break two ribs, end up burgled three times, endure eight punctures and get stopped by the police six times.
“The saddest part of the trip was the day before putting my bike in customs where someone had broken into my bike, Sir Humphrey, and stolen everything including two diaries that contained all my memories from the trip,” the 34-year-old said. “I was hoping to write a book about my experiences to raise more money for Magpas, but also for a guide to circumnavigate South America because there aren’t any at the moment.
“There were some great places like Machu Pichu and Patagonia but there were also some great people in Columbia, Venezuela and Brazil who would let me stay with them and take me out for dinner.
“I took on the famous Road of Death, in Bolivia, twice. At one point a taxi decided to pull over into me and knocked me off. I landed with my head overhanging a cliff, and my shoulder on the edge of it. That was one of the worst riding experiences I had: the other was when I came off after hitting a pothole, and landed on a rock, breaking two ribs.”
Five minutes before Dr Targett, of Sawtry, went through customs in Heathrow, he proposed to his girlfriend Samantha Lyon, who was treated by Magpas after a car crash when she was seven years old.
She said: “I wasn’t expecting it at all, but the proposal probably helped me cope with the fact Chris was away, as I had a wedding to plan.
“It was really stressful for the whole family while he was away, especially when Chris lost his phone, as I wasn’t able to speak to him. I was able to look at his progress using the GPS tracker, which showed me he was OK.”
The wedding will take place on February 1, 2013, at Woburn Abbey, a year after Dr Targett left Buenos Aires to start his 84-day trip around South America.
Dr Targett has raised between £5,000 and £6,000 for Magpas but hopes to raise even more by holding a ball, featuring Ezio and Booga and The Ovations, at Chilford Hall, Linton, on October 19.
INFORMATION: To read Dr Targett’s blog, or for more details of the charity ball, visit www.tiggerstravels.org