51 things to do be­fore I die

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - News - By ASHA ME­HTA asha.me­hta@pe­ter­bor­oughto­day.co.uk

A BIG-HEARTED youth worker has dreamt up a mad­cap wish list of 51 things to do be­fore he dies – in a bid to raise thou­sands for chil­dren’s char­i­ties.

The idea for the “life list” was first hatched in a pub by Dar­ren O’Sul­li­van af­ter a few beers with friends five years ago.

But it was only af­ter a se­ri­ous car crash while on hol­i­day in Greece in 2006 that Dar­ren, of Wes­leyan Road, Dogsthorpe, Peter­bor­ough, set his sights on tick­ing the chal­lenges off one by one.

So far, the 27-year-old has com­pleted two of his list aims – quit­ting smok­ing and ar­rang­ing a flash mob event at the Bo­tolph Arms pub, in Or­ton Longueville.

And he has got close to a shark twice – once when he was div­ing in Egypt and was feet away from a nurse shark and an­other time while on hol­i­day and swim­ming with white tipped sharks. But he is still pur­su­ing one of his scari­est chal­lenges – ac­tu­ally hug­ging one of the feared fish.

Dar­ren’s next big task will be a 350mile char­ity walk from Lux­em­bourg to London on July 25 – num­ber 17 on his list.

He will fly out to Lux­em­bourg city, then spend two weeks walk­ing 35-miles a day, sleep­ing in a tent en route un­til he picks up his trans­port back to London.

Dar­ren, who is cur­rently a self em­ployed youth worker in­volved in young peo­ple’s the­atre work­shops, hopes the solo ven­ture will raise £2,000 for the NSPCC, a char­ity close to his heart.

He said: “I used to work with young peo­ple in care. Some of them were ne­glected and the NSPCC works to pre­vent that.

“There were young peo­ple whose birth­days weren’t a pri­or­ity when they were at home, so when they went into care and there was a party for them, they didn’t know how to han­dle it.

“One young lad of 11 told me he had never built dens. He didn’t even know what it was. That re­ally brought it home.

“I am rais­ing money for the NSPCC HUG A SHARK: One of Dar­ren’s wishes. sim­ply be­cause I be­lieve, in the 21st cen­tury, child abuse should not ex­ist, es­pe­cially in one of the wealth­i­est coun­tries in the world.”

Dar­ren’s list is in­spired by the term “bucket list”, a list of things to cross off be­fore you “kick the bucket”.

He said: “It all be­gan dur­ing a daft evening with mates in the pub. But about a year af­ter that, I had a car crash in Greece. It wasn’t life-threat­en­ing, but I had to have surgery on my shoul­der and couldn’t work.

“It fo­cused my mind and in­spired me to start tick­ing stuff off my life list be­fore I slipped off the mor­tal coil.

“Some are funny, some are se­ri­ous and I want to do the big ones for char­ity. It’s al­most like a vo­ca­tion.”

Af­ter his walk from Lux­em­bourg to London, Dar­ren will start train­ing to com­plete the London Marathon next year.

How­ever, he wants to tackle the 26-mile race with a twist. He said: “I want to crawl the marathon wear­ing a nappy to raise money for Great Or­mond Street Hos­pi­tal. My knees will be wrecked and I’ll prob­a­bly beat the slow­est ever time of 72 hours, but the chil­dren the hos­pi­tal help go through a lot more.”

Spon­sor Dar­ren by vis­it­ing www.just­giv­ing.com/dar­ren-o-sul­li­van

WISH LIST: Dar­ren O’Sul­li­van is rais­ing cash for char­ity by work­ing through a list of bizarre chal­lenges he wants to do be­fore he dies.

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