How to sum up the last 2 days? We are now on the train in Malaga station. In 1 minute we head North for the first time since 9th May.
The last 48 hours have been a whirlwind. We knew it would be a mix of intense emotions and it certainly was. Some were predictable – arriving at the border and crossing into Gibraltar was extremely moving. Arriving at the Chestertons office at Ocean Village and being welcomed by the team was wonderful.
From Chestertons we went to the Toyota Gibraltar Stockholdings (TGS) (our primary sponsor) and had the most lovely of greetings.
The Toyota Gibraltar Stockholdings (TGS) Head of Marketing Andrew Flynn presented us with some champagne, flowers and a massive (in all ways) cheque for £5000 for MSF. GBC interviewed us and we spoke on Gibraltar radio and BBC Radio York & Newcastle. Some nice publicity for the fundraiser and to get MSFs name out there. We enjoyed a beer and buffet at TGS before heading to our Airbnb flat.
The next day we had the immense privilege of a personal tour around the Toyota Gibraltar Stockholdings (TGS) operation by Andrew and saw how they fit out and prepare the vehicles specifically for the environment that they are destined for. We visited all of the admin sections where they deal with finance, compliance, marketing and sales . We then went to the warehouse and the workshops.
Now, I am not a fan of cars and walk, run or cycle most places. There is however a place in my heart for the Land Cruiser. TGS supply thousands of these vehicles to charities including Médecins Sans Frontières / Doctors Without Borders each year and you can bet I’ve travelled in cars they have supplied in Africa. Memories flooded back to me as we toured the workshop. We are hugely grateful to Andrew and all of the lovely people at TGS who treated us so nicely.
I will briefly summarise the rest of the time. A wonderful lunch followed the tour, we met and had a fantastic lunch with executive chairman Kevin Jones, Co-CEO Jonathan Gourlay and Andrew. It was a very relaxed and comfortable occasion and we are grateful that such people would make time for us.
We are hugely proud to have been sponsored on this challenge by Ansell and Toyota Gibraltar Stockholdings (TGS) two extremely professional companies with remarkable, dedicated people who have great passion for their work. Their philosophies were remarkably similar and effective. Treat your staff well and you get so much more from them.
The rest of our time was relaxing and sightseeing. We took lots of photos around Gibraltar.
In a bar, met a Scottish couple – Heather and Stuart who now live in California. these lovely people saw my shirt appreciated the cause and donated €20 on the spot!
Coming back from The Rock, we met Ian and Karen and couldn’t get rid of them! We instantly got on but said goodbye after a chat. We bumped into them again Thursday night and again had a great time so we met again last night. A lovely meeting with two smashing people celebrating their anniversary.
So here we are, on the train, TGS kindly transported us to Malaga – Thank you Andrew and especially Brian who was wonderful company and gave us fascinating insight into life in Gib.
I have learned a lot about the territory from people here. I have also learned that Spain has two territories in Morocco which I never knew. Also that Gen. Franco, as well as a dictator was vindictive. He deliberately sited a refinery near to Gibraltar knowing the polluting effect it would have on the territory and the destructive impact on local beaches and tourism.
So this is us. The beginning of a long but so far relaxing trip home:
See you a soon, please keep the donations coming. I will total things up once we hit the UK and will let you know what YOU HAVE DONE. I already know it is remarkable.