Angels and Friends

Lots of people helped to turn the Wicked World Tour from a dream into a reality, and their help came in many different forms. Here are just some of them…

People who helped us before the tour:

  • Wales Family with computing materials
  • All those companies and individuals who made donations and gave prizes for fundraising events before, during and after the Tour, such as raffles, silent auctions, quiz nights, dinners and discos.

People who helped us on the First Leg:

  • The person on the bus from Dulles airport into Washington who saw us on to the right metro, helped us get the right fares, made sure we got off at the right station.
  • Keith and Ron from FARA (Friedreich’s Ataxia Research Association)
  • Maura Mimnagh, who tried to find us an accessible taxi on the train from Washington to NY… found the redcap porter and saw half the party into taxis then took the rest of us on foot to the right road to get the right bus and came with us to the hostel…
  • Ernesto Zavalla, who sorted out the insurance dilemma and made it possible for us to buy the minibus in the USA…
  • The guy in the organisation for people with developmental disability in office in Youth Hostel in New York who found us the names of organisations with wheelchair accessible vans that do private hire…
  • Clara Pires and Dave Wimhurst, who took us on a tour of the UN Building… had lunch with Sheila, PJ and me then saw us on to the cruise and gave us fabulous eats back in her apartment for everyone… use of her computer and internet… balm for us after everyone else went back to the hostel…
  • Joe and Rachel Lyons of the Lyons House Hostel in Niagara Falls, Ontario – they picked us up at the station, let us do constant washings, lifts in car, use of barbecue, their computer for email general kindness and hospitality…
  • Scott Pomeroy, Seattle…
  • Tom Harris , Laura, Alena, and Tommy – the bus man!
  • Will, Pene, Janisse, Jessica and Sam Anderson, Vashon…
  • Jason and Brett Spore…
  • Emmett Koelsch…
  • Tom and Barb and Kevin Mildner…
  • Toi and Tom Collier…
  • Access Medical Equipment, Seattle – gave us a discount on the cost of the commode…

The Wheelchair Saga

On our last day in Seattle, the back left support of Patrick’s wheelchair sheared completely. This mean the chairback tilted unsupportively and the wheelchair was almost un-pushable.We made a fairly ineffectual splint and had to wait until the following day to find a welder who did what turned out to be a temporary repair. Meantime Pach had to lie on an airbed in sweltering heat.

  • B and B Enterprises, Richland WA99352 – first welding repair of the trip
  • Nameless man on the RV site who gave us a 6inch bolt to stick in as a temporary measure….used again in Mexico!

In Los Angeles the other side broke! Pach waited patiently for an emergency hire one to be delivered while Margaret went to:

  • Bob’s Welding Shop, 684 Florence Ave, Los Angeles for the welding repair. Thanks to the car mechanics who helped dismantle the chair and put it back together.
  • ‘Dirty John’ in Williams who found a piece of metal to strengthen the again broken chair and thanks to the mechanics at the garage who applied a splint with hoseclips
  • Thanks to a fantastic taxi driver in Cancun we found Victor Manuel Ching Cambranis ‘El Chino’ who provided servicio de soladura in Cancun and did both the welding of the chairback again and repair of the lost brake.

People who helped on the Second leg

Hong Kong

  • Chin Nyun Fook – organised accommodation & transport for us, met us at the airport & treated us to a banquet
  • Billy – driver
  • Alice – our guide & treated us to Dim Sum
  • Kendrick (Nyun Fook’s son) – a friend


  • Mr & Mrs Choi (Hun’s parents) – met us, gave us fruit & lent us their car
  • Haeseoung & Geoanchun (Min’s sister & brother-in-law) – arranged to get us accommodation & gave us a meal
  • Hun Keung & Hae Keung (maths teacher & 13 year old pupil) – joined us for the day in Seoul to visit the War Museum, sing Karaoke and have a meal together


  • Kei Shinoda – arranged our accommodation in Japan, organised transport to meet us at the airport & take us to the Big-i
  • Nashiro Yoshida, Front of House Manager at Big-I, & his staff – made us very welcome in their state-of-the-art hotel
  • Kei’s friends who drove is to Tokyo (Masahiko & ?)
  • Akiko & Hero – our guides in Kyoto
  • Our guide in Nara
  • The Railway staff & Tokyo subway staff who carried Ali & Pach up & down stairs in order to make the stations accessible

Australia: Cairns

  • Staff at the airport who phoned for an accessible taxi & the driver who fitted us all into one cab !
  • Quicksilver team who helped us all go snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef & Lance who kept a special lookout
  • Arnold Budd – volunteer & disabled activist who came to meet us & talk about his work compiling an access directory for Cairns

Australia: Sydney

  • Mary Theresa Walker – friend, came for tea & brought us a coolbox with radio
  • John, Kohan, Mira Macdonald – met up with us at Lavender Bay to bring in the New Year, invited us out to the Blue Mountains for a meal
  • Josua & friends
  • Bashir & his family
  • Michael & Air – helped drive us to Springwood train station on our way back into Sydney

New Zealand: Christchurch

  • Pete Isherwood – brought us a lot of sleeping bags for our hostelling trip & met us for drink
  • Hostel Warden at Greymouth – gave us helpful information for our trip
  • Helicopter staff at the Franz Josef glacier were great
  • N-Zone staff who helped Ali do his sky dive – especially Sasha
  • Crew on the cruise ship that took us out on Milford Sound

New Zealand: Auckland

  • Jan Simpson & Peter who found us accommodation at Tibbs Hostel, Auckland Grammar School
  • Katriana, Kerry & her Dad, Jack Boggle who came for the Bar-b-q bringing lots of goodies

New Zealand:Rotorua

  • Linda & Tara – brought welcome package to the hostel & then invited us to a sumptious picnic on the shore of Lake Rotorua
  • Hawai – taxi driver who retrieved Sheila’s bumbag & got it out to the airport in time

People who helped on the Third Leg

South Africa

  • Bob Cairns – took Sheila, Margaret & Andi to airport


  • Alfie & Bernice from Epic Enabled
  • Stella & Mike at Eastgate Backpackers who let us use the downstairs kitchen rather than the hostel kitchen & provided bricks to raise the bed for hoist
  • Precious & Caroline who worked at the hostel were friendly and told us how to get to shops & to Mandeville Sports Centre
  • Norman’s cousin Fiona, Robert & 2 sons – food & drink, factory visit
  • Snothile Radebe – guide at Soweto
  • Betty & Terrie – co-travellers on Kruger Safari


  • Lara Turco & her dad Mario – met us at the airport
  • Sabine (Alfie’s wife) had arranged for us to contact:
  • Johannes at Quadriplegic Association of Kwa Zulu Natal, who provided minibus & drivers at very reasonable rate
  • Ashley Village – Cedric showed us round

Cape Town

  • Julia Buchanan came to meet us &, with Pippa, helped set up film show at 2 Oceans Aquarium
  • Leslie Swartz – lecturer at University of Stellenbosch, met up with us to discuss Disability & Access
  • Margaret Finlay – treated us all to lunch in Fishhoek & has kept in touch since
  • Dawn had us round to swim in their pool at Kalk Bay
  • Sabine, Alfie & baby Josh had us round to shower at their home

People who have helped on more recent research trips

  • Brad, Dirk, Hyun Man, Jorge, Simon

In recent months, Nicolle has helped at fundraising events in our absence, helping to widen our circle of contacts.

Many companies and organisations have donated raffle prizes and gifts more recently too, including Glenkinchie Distillery, Belhaven Brewery, Dynamic Earth, Odeon Cinemas, McSween’s Haggis, Chiquito’s, Megabowl and more…