Fife student to take on 1000-mile challenge

Andre Phillips
Andre Phillips

A St Andrews student is taking part in an epic 1000-mile expedition across Scotland to raise funds for two charities.

Andre Phillips (26), who has just completed his PhD in animal behaviour at the University of St Andrews, is marking the end of his time learning in the town by taking part in a 50-day, five-sports challenge.

It will take him all across Scotland, and see him cycling, hiking, swimming, canoeing and kayaking.

Andre has already raised £4000 – his target is £5000 – for the Teenager Cancer Trust and Camfed, the organisation for female education.

Speaking to the Citizen this week, 17 days into the challenge, Andre has already battled against the elements.

“The first week I was breaking into it and realising my limitations,” he told the Citizen.

“The swim was overly ambitious. I started getting hypothermia and had to jump into a safety canoe.

“I then managed to get heat stroke when the good weather came in a few days later.

“Luckily it passed pretty quickly.”

Andre now faces the West Highland Way, which he will be taking on over the course of seven days.

After that he will be canoeing along the Great Glen, and then walking the Affric-Kintail Way.

During this time, he will be wild camping, carrying some equipment and picking up other bits at various drop-off points that he has organised.

He said: “I realised that I see a lot people doing charity events.

“I wanted to do something that I’d consider giving money to because it sounded crazy and impossible.

“I didn’t want it to be standard.”

Before embarking on the challenge, Andre raised a lot of funds by hosting various events and taking part in other endeavours, such as a 12-hour cycle.

All of this has been in aid of the Teenage Cancer Trust and Camfed.

“So many friends have had to deal with cancer already,” he said, explaining his decision to support TCT. “I’ve visited the trust’s ward at Sick Kids – it has fantastic facilities. People get the help they need and deserve.

“And with Camfed, there’s a charity which looked at the best ways to reduce climate change. Two of the top ones were education for women and access to family planning.”

If you would like to support Andre with his amazing fundraising challenge, visit 1000mileschallenge.weebly.com.