By Bejay Browne
A Paphos fundraiser is determined to raise thousands of euros for two local charities by completing a flying tour of Europe on a shoestring budget.
Graham Burns, 58, a former Metropolitan Police Special Branch officer, has been living in Mandria village for the past decade and came up with the novel idea to collect about 10,000 euros while trying to find quirky ways to raise money for two local charities: the Paphos cancer patients support group and the Archangel Michael hospice.
Titled ‘Graham’s cash magnet tour,’ the ex copper will travel to eight different European destinations over six days using low cost airline Ryanair. Burns has pre-booked his flights costing him just 205 euros and will collect fridge magnets along the way.
“I wanted to do something different to raise money for these two charities and I also wanted to prove that you can travel around Europe cheaply using Ryanair, as long as you have access to an airport and book your tickets at the most opportune time,” he said.
Although the fundraising effort is an obvious boost for the budget airline’s PR department, the airline has so far been slow to respond to Burns’ emails sent to their press office.
“I have already paid for the tickets, but I wanted to let the airline know what I was doing and I hope that they will support me in some way. I haven’t heard anything yet,” he said.
Burns plans to clock up around 10,000km on the European tour and hopes to raise at least the same amount in euros for his chosen charities. He will set off from Paphos airport in March, travelling to Milan, then on to Vilnius in Lithuania, followed by Oslo, London, Dusseldorf, Rome and, finally, Thessaloniki before returning to Paphos.
The entire round trip will take him six days and he plans to make overnight stays at small hotels and with family and friends. The ex policeman says he will only spend a total of 15 hours in the air, but will travel a distance of 9,358kms between airports.
“To prove I have visited each destination, I will buy a fridge magnet at each stop and businesses and individuals will be able to sponsor each leg of the tour.”
“These charities are two worthwhile causes, and I have had a number of friends who have used the cancer patients support groups services. In addition, the Archangel Michael hospice is close to opening its doors and I wanted to help with a final push to make that happen.”
The Cancer Patients Support Group supports the Cyprus Association of Cancer Patients and Friends (PASYKAF) through fundraising. They help to provide numerous services including free home care nursing, psychosocial support, travel to the oncology centre in Nicosia and a free helpline.
Archangel Michael charity was established to assist with the building and running costs of the first purpose-built hospice in Cyprus. Once it opens, Archangel Michael Hospice will provide free palliative care for patients and their families.
Burns says that wife Lynda wholeheartedly supports him on his forthcoming venture but joked that she wouldn’t be accompanying him on his fundraising mission as, “the luggage allowance wouldn’t be enough for the wife.”
For further information or to sponsor Graham Burns’ ‘Cash Magnet Tour’ e-mail him at [email protected] .