We’re on our way over the Channel
ACOUPLE from Banks who set out on an extraordinary journey are now being transported to France. Phill and Emily Gregson are aiming to travel to the South of France by horse and cart.
The pair, who married two years ago, set off just over five weeks ago, with their dogs, Pepper and Penn, and have travelled approximately 350 miles so far.
The cart is being pulled by two traditional cob horses that can travel about 20 miles a day at most.
Initially it was thought the 1,000-mile journey would take around three months to complete, although Phill thinks it may take slighter longer.
The pair have set off on this trip in memory of their one-month-old daughter Elsie, who died last year.
Elsie was born with the rare mitochondrial disease, which meant she could not move her arms or legs and had to be placed on life support, but she died exactly a month after being born, on November 27.
Her parents have taken on their challenge to raise money for charities who helped them through the ordeal.
Phill, 34, said: “She was born a little early because there were concerns she wasn’t moving much in the womb.
“They monitored her and decided to do an emergency caesarian. She ended up on life support and slowly deteriorated over the month.
“I wouldn’t wish anyone to suffer through that and that’s why we want to help.
“We know these things can’t be stopped but we want to make sure anyone else who goes through it can get the same help.”
Rather than the more usual fundraising methods, they settled on this event as it showcases both their skills.
Phill, a former Stanley High pupil, has the Wheelwright shop in Banks and makes cart wheels, and Emily, 26, works as a vet in Rufford.
All money raised will be donated to Claire House, the Newborn Appeal at Liverpool Women’s Hospital, and Alder Hey Children’s Hospital.
Phill added: “We think we have raised around £5,000 so far, but we won’t know the exact amount until we finish the journey.”
There have been some issues along the way, including the fact that it rained every day for the first three weeks.
They also damaged the back of their cart, which has been fixed with a temporary solution.
Phill said: “The journey so far has been hard work, and full of long days, but very worthwhile.
“When we get into France, we will make some adjustments to the cart and fix some problems, as well as changing the horses around because we will be riding on the other side of the road.”
Once the adjustments are made, the couple are set to continue their travels to the South of France.
To donate to the cause or to follow their journey, visit www.elsiesjourney. co.uk.
The curious cobs take a look around the cart during a rest stop
Phill and Emily Gregson training for their 1,000-mile journey by horse and cart
Phill and Emily’s horses stop for a well-earned drink and rest