We’re on our way over the Chan­nel

Southport Visiter - - Visiter Active - BY CHANTELLE HEEDS chantelle.heeds@trin­i­tymir­ror.com @chantelle­heeds

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.

PHILL GREG­SON

The cu­ri­ous cobs take a look around the cart dur­ing a rest stop

MIKE BISHOP

Phill and Emily Greg­son train­ing for their 1,000-mile jour­ney by horse and cart

PHILL GREG­SON

Phill and Emily’s horses stop for a well-earned drink and rest

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