Tycoon helps Durham pair raise cash for pal
ARRIVING in Australia without spending a penny on transport, these two students broke a charity record - thanks to Sir Richard Branson.
Durham University’s Tom Cox and Dave Binns hitchhiked all the way to Sydney after the billionaire tycoon stepped in to help.
The lads had signed up for the annual “jailbreak” challenge, which sees students attempt to travel as far away from Durham Prison as possible without purchasing any form of travel.
Tom and Dave began writing to businesses asking for donations, quietly expecting to end up at least as far as London.
But then an email from Sir Richard’s personal assistant arrived, informing them that the famous entrepreneur had bought them flights Down Under.
And less than two days later the pair were posing for pictures by Sydney Harbour.
They raised more than £2,500 to help friend, Henry Fraser, who was paralysed in a swimming accident – breaking the jailbreak challenge record in the process.
Tom, 19, revealed how their luck came about after he managed to correctly guess Sir Richard’s email address.
The natural sciences student said: “I emailed hundreds of chief executives and didn’t really get any replies, but then an email from Sir Richard’s PA dropped in.
“She said he wanted to know a bit more about why we were doing it, and I was asked to give her a call.
“And then she said ‘Richard wants to send you to Australia’, I couldn’t believe it.” Durham University holds the competition each year, and students typically travel a few hundred miles within the UK to raise cash for worthy causes.