DAY 1 AND 2 – London  Kent  Dover  Dunkirk

AND WE ARE OFF! We had an incredible send off from Pearl & Groove bakery on Portobello Road (our UK sponsor). Having worried initially that only 10 people would turn up, we were overwhelmed by the throngs of people that came to wave goodbye and made it such an awesome atmosphere! We had beautiful cakes, Prosecco (with thanks to Armit Wines ), a singer, Turkish Radio and Television filming us, and even a short Indian ceremony to wish us luck on our journey – video below of the breaking of the coconut, the throwing of rice, some Sanskrit chanting(!) and a lime and chilli good luck garland.

En route to our first overnight destination, Cranbrook in Kent, we had a quick pit spot at Rachel’s sister’s house for some tuna sandwiches and a family picture before meeting James’ school friend, Hussam, with his wife and beautiful 3 month old daughter in the timeless glamour of a Harvestor carpark! Later, after a tuktuk chase through Kent, Michelle Samuels, who lost her sister to SUDEP, eventually tracked us down for a quick photo opportunity just before we pulled into James’ parents house. It was about 6pm when we finally arrived at the Hewitt’s home and we were met by a lovely cup of tea…or so we thought, until Paul, James’ father, sheepishly admitted he had accidentally blended mint and Early Grey tea (yuk!) – we swiftly moved onto something a little stronger.

After a good night’s sleep, a bacon butty and black coffee we set off for Dover through the Garden of England, Rach doing her live Radio 2 interview from the backseat of the tuktuk (trying not to swear as Bharat swerved round some hairpin bends).  Listen here: 

As we arrived at the Port of Dover, James, with lightening speed, took the opportunity to unnecessarily show off that he could speak French to the English passport control officer…more of this to come no doubt. Bharat booked the tuktuk onto the ferry as a motorbike, which surprisingly nobody batted an eyelid at, and it was strapped into place in the belly of the ferry as we crossed the channel to Dunkirk.

Funniest moment: Rach being caught by the Radio 2 producer whilst on the loo! Safe to say they rang back 5 minutes later.

National Drink – UK: Chapel Down, English Sparkling Wine – delicious and the perfect way to toast our first day!

How do we feel (Amy): “I felt really emotional after our leaving do – it really hit home how much everyone has rallied behind this campaign for Emily. However, it was actually boarding the ferry in Dover that made it feel really real for me. I’d done a test drive in the tuktuk to James’ parents a few weeks ago so driving there for the evening almost felt like we were going down for the weekend! But mid-channel, as we said goodbye to the white cliffs of Dover, it really hit home that this was it and we’re finally on our way!”

Memories of Emily: We were waved off from Kent by David Sibree who lost his son Tom to SUDEP just over three years ago. Hearing David speak about Tom made it an emotional departure as we remembered both him and Emily and how much we have all lost.

TukTuk Trivia:

  • Number of wrong turns: 3 (culprits: Amy twice + Bharat once)
  • Best bladder control: Bharat
  • Number of awareness postcards handed out: 5
  • Number of new Instagram followers: Hundreds!

Dunce of the Day:


  • 1 dangerous wrong turn
  •  1 mobile phone left in tuk tuk 
  •  1 motel key locked in room
  • 1 panic over lost tuk tuk key (found later on his person)