An opportunity to display the three ambulances in Wadebridge prior to the long journey.

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If ever you volunteer to set up a photo-shoot involving three Ambulances (out of service), a collection of sundry ‘props’ (for example one table, two chairs, maps, road sign, binoculars, a toilet roll – don’t even ask – 2 First Aid kits and 3 country flags on poles) and all on a Monday afternoon in Molesworth Street, Wadebridge, then it is highly recommended that counselling is undertaken beforehand and not, as I will be doing, after the event.
Why three Ambulances (someone cried)?  Well, eight members of Wadebridge and Lostwithiel Rotary Clubs (Clive Littleton, David Dunkley, Nick Warrick, Ian Thirtle, Roy Vannoey, Stuart Hutchison, Wayne Mitchell and Clive Robinson) are giving up a week of their time and travelling at their own expense (except for the fuel, which was very generously funded by the public a few months ago) – paying for their overnight and subsistence requirements and their flights back to Cornwall – to drive the 3 Ambulances some 2000 miles (3218 km) to a small country in Eastern Europe called Kosovo (or Kosova, depending on…….something, I’m not sure what).

The convoy begins its journey on Thursday 24 September at 5.45 a.m. from the Fire Station in Wadebridge and when they arrive in Kosovo – approximately the shape and size of Devon; capital Pristina - one Ambulance will travel to Prizren, the second to Vitina and the third to Podujevo.  Eventually our brave lads (and on this occasion the team is entirely made up of ‘lads’ - of a certain age, it has to be said) will be reunited with each other and after some, probably liquid, hospitality they will fly back home after a ‘jolly’ week away.
Actually, from the experience of many past such journeys, I’m assured it’s not all fun and games – they have to put up with a lot of ‘singing’ (Gareth Malone….where are you when you’re most needed) and some frustrations at border crossings the further east they travel.

However, whatever the difficulties the ‘lads’ face on the journey, the support from the Town has been magnificent and will make the trip that little bit easier.  So grateful thanks are given to the staff at Bridge Tools, Mill Auto - Wadebridge, A & J Tyres and Tregoning Ford for help, vehicle preparations and donations of money, fuel and materials.  And the extraordinary contribution made by FLEET – the charity that supports the emergency teams in Cornwall and run entirely by volunteers – has been immense.
Anyway, back to that photo-shoot – it was like herding cats; no sooner had a small ‘tableau’ been set up, and I’d moved on to the next group, than the first contingent wandered about chatting to friends, wives, children and grandchildren, so by the time I’d set all the scenes up the street looked less like a beautifully constructed collage (my ‘vision’) and more like a chaotic cocktail party.  Then there were the photographers all with their own ideas about how to set things up differently and/or better (I was reluctant to admit they may well have been right, so I ploughed on regardless).  One even had the temerity to say “the sun’s in the wrong place”, to which there was only one answer (the editor won’t print that).

Those of us not going on this great adventure, wish the intrepid eight all the very best and ask that our best wishes are given to the people of Kosovo/Kosova as they strive to establish their fledgling country.  If you want to know how the trip pans out, then more news and photos will be posted on Club facebook pages and on respective Rotary Club web sites: Lostwithiel Club – and Wadebridge Club –

Report by Graham Renwick .