INTREPID motorbike explorer Bruce Smart visited Horsham-based international wildlife charity the Born Free Foundation before setting off on a round-the-world adventure.
Setting off from the Cenotaph in London with a police motorcycle escort over Westminster Bridge on October 1, Bruce will embark upon a life-changing self-funded 100,000 mile motorbike adventure to raise vital funds and awareness for four charities.
The Born Free Foundation in Foundry Lane is one, along with St Christopher’s Hospice, the Royal British Legion and The Children’s Trust.
This momentous trip of a lifetime, taking in 66 countries and crossing all types of terrain on just two wheels, will see Bruce attempt to fulfil a promise he made to his mother, who sadly lost her battle with cancer in 2008.
“A few years ago I moved my ailing mum in with me whilst she went through her last course of treatment for cancer,” he said.
“I was 32 years old, watching my mum fight like a Trojan every day against something I could do nothing to combat – it wasn’t just her it was killing.
“One day she said to me: ‘Don’t ever have regrets, look after those you love, but live your life.’
“That was it, I booked my Direct Access and went for it. She looked me straight in the eye and with her voice weak, fragile and frail, she whispered, ‘You’ll do it?’, and I promised her I would.”
As a serving policeman in the Diplomatic Protection Group, a Specialist Operation branch of London’s Metropolitan Police Service, where he provides protection for Downing Street and the Prime Minister, Bruce will not only be leaving his long-term girlfriend and son behind to embark on the challenge, but also his career.
Aiming to raise £1million for charity through the epic adventure, Bruce visited the Born Free Foundation head office for a cup of tea with staff, over which he set out his plans for the trip.
“Teapotone is not simply a case of taking a motorbike around the world,” he said.
“It will be a journey of extremes for both machine and rider. To take a sports bike around the world in 12 to 16 months, across desert, over rock, through jungle and swamp, is in itself extraordinary.
“What we are embarking on is remarkable, a truly memorable journey. Unsupported, through every type of terrain, in all weathers, I will travel the globe on a machine bred for the race track.”
On the course of his adventure, Bruce is aiming to visit field projects affiliated with the charities that he is raising funds for, and hopes to visit Born Free’s sanctuaries in South Africa and Ethiopia, amongst others, in order to see first-hand the important work the charity does around the world to look after individual animals rescued from lives of suffering and to ‘Keep Wildlife in the Wild’.
Joanne Bartholomew, who manages Born Free’s events and fundraising, said: “It was fantastic for Born Free staff to meet Bruce when he popped into our office, arriving on the very bike upon which he will complete his amazing challenge.
“What he is doing is undeniably inspirational and we are very excited that he is planning to visit some of our international projects on his epic adventure to see where the money he raises will be going to help animals in need. Good luck Bruce!”
BAFTA award-winning actress and founder of the Born Free Foundation, Virginia McKenna OBE, also pledged her support for Bruce’s challenge: “You are truly wonderful, amazing and with a heart as big as the world. Thank you for wanting to include Born Free as one of your bike ride charities. We are with you all the way.”
Throughout his trip, Bruce will be updating the Teapotone website with regular blog entries and videos.
To support Bruce, donations can be made directly to each of the charities through the website too. For more information visit www.teapotone.com