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A Silent Cry


I wasn’t quite sure how to pitch this blog post. It’s not my usual sort of content, but I really do want you to read it.

Most of the people who visit my website are interested in travel, adventure, or seeking the motivation to get on and do something exciting with their lives – change direction, start a business, make a difference. Stuff like that.

So I decided to pick a few sentences from a book I’ve just read, and hope that they capture your attention:

  • We were going to many different countries which, in normal circumstances, we would never have dreamed of going to – Albania, Sierra Leone, Kosovo, Moldova, Belarus, Mozambique – to us these were just names on a map.
  • Life was busy – we were running on adrenaline. It was all-consuming and a lot of fun!
  • Once, Mark went into the city over the mountain road carrying £75,000 in cash, stored in two money belts under his jacket!
  • At one checkpoint Mark was asked for his ID. He had, on purpose, left his passport behind. The only form of identity he could find was an old National Trust membership card. This impressed the soldier; if Mark was trusted by the Nation he must be a good man!
  • Moments of joy and high humour were important in keeping us all sane.
  • From the start we have had an unshakeable belief that if our work was good enough, the money would come to support it and make it possible.
We started looking for office space. A local farmer offered us the top floor of a barn, with no windows or heating – and no loo, but fortunately there were plenty of bushes outside! This became our office and still is today.
[He] was such a special person, we really wanted him to work with us. Without hesitating he said, “yes!” Then we had to explain that we could not afford to pay him very much – nothing like the amount he was currently earning. He said, “I’m not in it for the money.”
We were clueless… so we sought help…
  • We had no business plan, little idea and no experience… As we look back we feel somewhat embarrassed by how naive we were.
  • We feel unbelievably privileged to have been given this opportunity in our lives to do something so positive.

These are extracts from a new book, A Silent Cry, by Mark and Caroline Cook. Mark and Caroline have had adventures in many countries. They’ve run the gauntlet of war zones, drunk homebrew liquor, met colourful characters, and bluffed their way past tedious bureaucrats. Along the way, they raised £80,000,000 (80 million quid!) and helped over 40,000 children across the world.

Mark and Caroline founded the charity Hope and Homes for Children, who I have supported in a small way through my expeditions and Nights of Adventure. I am proud to be a patron of the charity.

Hope and Homes for Children is an international charity working to ensure that all children have the chance to grow up in the love of a family. Their vision is a world in which children no longer suffer institutional care.

  • If you enjoy Mark and Caroline’s spirit of adventure or if you are inspired by their positivity and entrepreneurial achievements, read on.
  • If you’re touched by the charity’s accomplishments in saving or improving the lives of so many children in poor parts of the world, read on.
  • Or, if you prefer the usual sort of stuff that I write about on my blog, please do me a favour today, and read on anyway!

In the course of a lifetime a person comes into contact with countless people. The impact that they make can be positive or negative. For the lucky people in life most contacts will be positive. But for those less positive, such as children who are deprived and unloved, the high probability is that they will be forced into crime and prostitution in order to survive. Their lives may be blighted by darkness, hatred and jealousy. The impact on them and on all those they meet will be totally negative. By changing just one of those lives, many people will benefit. It is impossible to assess the total positive impact on humanity that giving a child a loving family has rather than life in a bleak institution.

Please, take a moment (right now – not later), to help these children. Start at Number 1 and keep going until you’ve had enough!

Thank you very much.

  1. Follow Hope and Homes for Children on Twitter @hopeandhomes and Facebook.
  2. ReTweet or Share some of their content to your social media audience.
  3. Sign up to the HHC newsletter here.
  4. Make a one-off donation of any amount of money you can spare. Until December 12th, any amount you give will be doubled by the government.
  5. Order Mark and Caroline’s book. (Give it to someone who has kids of their own and will be moved by the story and donate loads of cash!)
  6. Start a direct debit – £10 a month helps HHC to plan and be confident of the number of children they can help in the coming months
  7. Come along to the next Night of Adventure (you’ll find out about it from the HHC newsletter)
  8. Take part in the HHC triathlon.  This year, the youngest was 21 the oldest was 76. It’s ideal for beginners and corporate teams.
  9. Raise funds and awareness for HHC through your next challenge, adventure or expedition. Here’s some info to help you.
  10. Become a volunteer speaker – give a talk about HHC’s work to a local group, company or school.

Thank you.

Sierra Leone

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