12 October 2017
It’s almost time for Lawrence to take back the reins of his online presence now that Team Jones is back from the Strive challenge in the Moroccan desert. So, before we go, here’s one final update from LJ’s media team.
We’ve had a few chats about the trip and I can tell you something, I don’t envy the challenge! Of course, Lawrence and Gail are both exhausted. On top of that, Gail has almost 40 bruises and Lawrence has a cracked rib, but there is no doubting that the challenge was worthwhile.
I am sure Lawrence will give you the full run down on here soon but here’s a snippet of what Strive Morocco was really like. Cycling from 6.30am for the full day across every terrain – thick sand to rocky riverbeds – and through every type of weather, the team reached Mount Toubkal. After camping in the desert, sleep deprived and heavy-legged, the second phase began. Team Jones and the 23 other participants spent 13-hour days hiking to the top of the highest mountain in North Africa. At around 3200m high, they set up camp. At that height you’d be lucky to get much sleep considering the altitude and resulting lack of oxygen.
Regardless, at 3am they were up and heading to reach the summit for sunrise. The team then spent the whole day trekking back down the mountain. With about a mile to go, Lawrence slipped and cracked a rib! But nothing stopped them making it to the finish line. I have it on good authority that there is nothing better than hot running water after spending so long in the blowing sand of the desert!
When we asked Lawrence what he has learned from the experience, he said that the experience has taught him that he’s a rugged fool! He added that he also learned that when in doubt or when life gets stressful, there is nothing greater than lacing up your walking boots and heading to the mountains. That’s quite a mantra for a man who was buried in an avalanche more than a decade ago.
Strive for better
Ultimately, the goal for the trip was to support Big Change in helping to transform education across the UK. When I asked Lawrence about this he said:
“The education system in the UK is fundamentally flawed. Ofsted measure schools by results. Ofsted measures educational institutions on their pass rates and overall A-C scores. We celebrate academic achievement and elevate those with good grades.
“Those who aren’t as academically minded are side-lined. After school are written off by the big companies because they don’t have the right letters on their CV.
“When you think about it, this is wiping out the potential of so many young people. I am dyslexic and got four U grades at A-Level. I am nowhere near the finished article but now at the head of a successful business portfolio. I’m helping to change people’s lives. Sir Richard Branson is dyslexic and Steve Jobs didn’t have a university degree. They bring something else to the table.
“Equally, thanks to the current system, academically successful people are being set up to fail because grades don’t matter in the real world; passion, tenacity, focus, ambition and resilience matter. Common sense matters. We need to broaden what we celebrate.”
Bringing such influential people together – like Simon Sinek and Sir Richard among many others – is sure to have a huge impact on the way we’re setting our children up for their futures. I know the whole team here is incredibly proud of both Lawrence and Gail for taking part in the challenge and being part of raising £700,000 for Big Change. There’s still time to sponsor the team, who have promised to double anything raised on the page, on top of the around £50,000 already donated by Lawrence and Gail.
Well done Team Jones!