CUOTC raise £5,000 for East of England Ambulance Service in ‘Cambridge to Cape Town Challenge’

officer cadets from CUOTC presented the funds to Luke Squibb, EEAST’ head of operations for Cambridge and Peterborough

Officer Cadets from the Cambridge University Officers’ Training Corps (CUOTC) ran, cycled and hiked over 9,000 miles cumulatively during lockdown, in aid of first responders.

Cambridge University Officers’ Training Corps (CUOTC), the Army Reserve unit for university students across East Anglia, presented the East England Ambulance Service (EEAS) with a cheque for £5,823 from its latest fundraising endeavour. 

During a socially distanced ceremony held at the Coldham’s Lane Army Reserve Centre, officer cadets presented the funds to Luke Squibb, EEAST’ head of operations for Cambridge and Peterborough.

Following the 23rd March nationwide lockdown, CUOTC’s training programme was halted as its officer cadets – students in higher education – returned home from their respective universities and colleges.  Seeing an opportunity to improve personal fitness during lockdown, while supporting a worthy cause, a team of officer cadets created the Cambridge to Cape Town (C2C) Challenge. The officer cadets organised and ran the event remotely and entirely via the power of social media.

The C2C Challenge sought to cumulatively cover the overland distance between Cambridge and Cape Town, South Africa, in recognition of CUOTC’s service there in 1901. 

The unit is unique in the OTC space in that it is the only Officer Training Corps to have a Battle Honour for its officer cadets service in South Africa (South Africa 1900-01) where they acted as sharpshooters. 

Starting on 25th May, a total distance of 8,325 miles was covered in 36 days via a combination of  running, cycling and hiking with weight. The East England Ambulance Service NHS Trust was chosen as the beneficiary of the Challenge, due to its front-line role in the current pandemic. 

Over the month of June, the officer cadets shed blood, sweat and tears to achieve the goal (which they completed nearly a week early) and raised over £5500 for a worthy cause. A sterling effort from all concerned and a novel way of increasing fitness within the unit and deal with the challenges that COVID lockdown brought to us all.