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Adventurers plan wheelchair crossing of Australia


Zoe Satherley
21 February 2006
"If I cross Australia in 80 days I'll be a happy bunny. If I make it at all I'll be delirious. If I do it without killing myself I'll be flabbergasted," said wheelchair adventurer Spike Breakwell.

Spike and his support crew, including Southern Cross University Bachelor of Media student John Taylor, who will film the historic trek, hope to make the first-ever electric wheelchair crossing of Australia from coast to coast.

"The documentary will be a fantastic addition to my portfolio of work and hopefully I will also be able to use it as part of future course assessment work," John said.

"A UK film production company, Big Cat Productions, has expressed an interest in coming on board and filming us as we film ourselves making the journey.

"It is a very exciting project and along with my SCU studies, I hope it will help me get a foot in the door of the film and media industry."

John and Spike, long time friends, were on the Northern Rivers last week, drumming up support and sponsorship for their upcoming 5000km voyage.

The BBC has already expressed interest in airing the documentary, which Spike, a comedian, actor and writer for the Times of London, believes will become a comedy of errors.

"We know we're mad trying to do it, but I get bored easily and John suggested it would keep me amused," Spike said during a visit to SCU's Lismore campus recently.

Spike and John are seeking sponsorship to help subsidise the trip and to raise money for Barnardos in Australia and the UK.

"Most of the money we raise will go to Aboriginal children who, in many communities, are living in shocking conditions below the poverty line," Spike said.

"I have been shocked by the level of depravity I have seen while travelling the country, checking out the route we will follow. The conditions under which some Indigenous people are living are truly appalling and I can see that a small amount of support can go a long way."

Spike and John hope to find corporate sponsors for their trip.

"We take all the risks and they get all the glory," Spike said.

John and Spike first met in a pub when John was on a working holiday in the UK.

"There was a meeting of minds," said John."Yeh," Spike agreed "We've got half a mind each and we share it."

For information about the trek contact John on 0437 188 053.