Category Archives: People

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…

The Volunteers

The Volunteers, Carers and Home support team

Kwang-Hun Choi

Kwang-Hun was born on the 18th of April 1977. He lives in Pusan, South Korea and since going home has acquired a good job, a lovely girlfriend and a fast car. He is remembered for being a real honey, hard working, fun, fantastic and for being all round excellent part-time mother.

Steve Mildner

Steve is from Portland, Oregon. He was born on July 1st 1981. His favourite food is subway sandwiches and his favourite place to visit is Scotland! His communication skills are so poor that he often has us worried about his welfare.

Chris Collier

Chris is a friend of Steve’s who stepped in to help with the first tour. He got married in the summer of 2006 to Michelle and is still just the best communicator.

Chris Brennan

Chris hails from Armadale in West Lothian. He is an avid Celtic supporter.

Katie Park

Not enough words to describe how wonderful Katie is. Katie is from Haddington and her birthday is 29th July 1983. She is a wonderfully empathetic person who is still a firm friend. She graduated as a nurse on the 17th of November 2006. Lucky NHS!

Min-Jung Kang

Min is a delightful South Korean woman who accompanied us on the second tour. She is beautiful, eccentric, a great organiser, has a quirky sense of humour and is a fabulous cook.

Jong-Han Kim

Jong – Han is a South Korean man who helped when the tour was in South Korea and Japan. He is strong, organised, thoughtful and very caring. He is also very handsome but that is irrelevant (or maybe not).

Kei Shinoda

Kei was Patrick’s first ever CSV from Japan who helped to organise the Tour in Japan and later became a helper on the South Africa trip. He is kind, hard-working, modest and truly lovable.

Andy Bremner

Andy was born on the 22nd of July. He is handy at just about everything he turns his mind to. He left his support position on the home team to help with the South African trip. He famously abseiled off Table Mountain and was particularly pleased to see so many lions because he was missing his cats.

Jean Knox

I joined the tour for a while in the US and again in the antipodes for a bit of a junket and to throw my weight around as the mother figure. I had a brilliant time, found plenty of opportunity to exhibit my bossy nature and loved everybody. Currently I am embarking on the serious business of improving my golf and learning to dance some salsa.

Raymond Harland

After years of action as a disabled rights campaigner Raymond helped us to try and sort through our ideas and vision. Along with other home team members he worked on making the office accessible. He was always at the end of the phone when we were trying to function as a good team away from home. He has helped us look at our strategy by facilitating a visioning dayand we hope to keep in touch with him in his present work with the Thistle Foundation.

Heather Wilson

Joined the volunteers as part of the home team. Her imagination and sense of humour contributed greatly to meetings and her baking skills were fantastic for fundraisers. Sadly Heather died after a long struggle with illness.

Margaret Bremner

Margaret Bremner was born in Glasgow 11th September 1954 and is now living in Edinburgh. I’m glad to have been in on this mind-blowing experience since the beginning, part of the team on all the travels and now company secretary.

Eddie Henry

Eddie was born on the 11th August 1982. He studied English in Wales. Eddie loves surfing, food, travel, music, reading, good company like your fine selves at Cockenzie. But doesn’t like Lists, Tony Blair, people getting stressed and the prospect of full time work obviously quite as much.

Mary Simpson

Mary was born on the 5th June 1987. Mary is Scottish, has known Alistair for 20 and half years and Patrick since she was born. She values them as good friends and neighbours.

Sheila MacKay

Sheila was born on the 21st March in 1951 in Glasgow, Scotland. She studied Geography amongst other things at Glasgow University. She has also undertaken community education at Jordanhill College and in things including non-violence, women’s studies and CELTA. She likes to travel, read, hillwalk and spend time with friends and family along with food, drink and being in the fresh air and sunshine. She got involved with Wicked World Tour at the beginning after thinking “Are they really serious?” and then realising Pach and Ali truly were. The part of WWT she’s enjoyed most is the Safari in Kruger National Park. In the future she hopes WWT will have a fabulous motor home that is accessible by all and booked by adventurous travellers.

Misako Kasahara

Misako was born on the 1st July 1980. Misako really enjoyed working with WWT. In Misako’s own words “It’s great”

Lily Greenan

Older than she looks and younger than she feels. Got involved with Wicked World Tour because she really wanted to climb seven Munros in one day and two old pals said, ‘well, we have a good cause we could raise some money for at the same time…’ She later became part of the ‘home team’ and is a Director of WWT. She likes long mountain climbs, short meetings and good company.

Val Stenhouse

Generous with her time and energy,Val has helped make fundraisers go with a swing. Now part of the committee and bringing good sense and good sandwiches to meetings.

John Simpson

John is a director and company treasurer. He has held this post since the company was started in December 2002. He worked as base camp co-ordinator for the team’s world trips.

He works with Lothian and Borders Police as a Liaison Officer in the Edinburgh Sheriff Court as Standby Officer. He is also involved with the Vine Trust, a Scottish charity working with the people of the Amazon in Peru. He went to Peru to work on the Vine trust medical ships in 2004 and again in 2007

Ella Simpson

Ella has over 30 years experience in the social care sector. She has provided direct services to people, managed teams and organisations as well as being involved in national strategic development and reviews. She is the Director at Edinburgh Voluntary Organisations Council and is committed to working with people to ensure that they can develop sustainable services which meet their individual and communities’ needs.

Bob Cairns

Guitarist, projectionist, soundman, always calming and always believing that the dream can come true. Sadly Bob Cairns is no longer with us.

Ali’s profile

Alistair David Knox or Ali, lived from May the 18th 1987 to October the 11th 2007. He describes himself as follows:

Hi, I’m Ali, I’m 19 at the mo. I have just completed my first year of a four year honours degree in molecular genetics at the University of Dundee. I’m a typical fun-loving 19 year old guy. My love of learning coupled with my enthusiasm for languages and food inflames my desire to travel.

Since returning from our Wicked World Tour I have caught a particularly virulent strain of the travel bug. I have realised that the only cure for this is to keep travelling. The time I spent on the Wicked World Tour was the best 11 months of my life. I am very optimistic about the future of the charity, we can and will make a difference to the travel options available to people with disabilities.

He was an ambitious, enthusiastic and inspiring man, who exemplified many of the best possible character traits, such as the fact that he could be amusing, exciting, independent, kind and a positive optimist who normally displayed these traits at the right times. Although he had a challenging life, he managed to enjoy it and to do many things, which are not normal, even amongst the able-bodied majority.

He went to Colombia, Peru and Brazil and he won a child of achievement award at school and he got to go to London and meet J.K. Rowling.

This is not to mention the fact that he was involved in the Wicked Word Tour planning stage and he also got to go on the Wicked World Tour and be a member of the travelling team. He was also very important in keeping track of things which were found out. Also he was so influential in starting the charity called Wicked World Tours as well and even now, after his death I ask myself would this mean that Wicked World Tours is moving in a direction which Ali would approve of.

He helped record the research by playing a major role in directing and producing the ‘Access All Areas’ videos and he also often features in the three videos. He was and always will be a super star in my mind.

– Patrick Knox

Pach’s Profile

My name is Patrick James Knox, or to my friends I’m Pach. My date of birth is the 24th July 1984.

I’m proud of being Scottish. I consider myself to be a kind, generous, humorous, ingenious optimist who likes listening to crime audio books and Harry Potter. One more thing that everyone agrees on is that I’m quite partial to the occasional dark-hued, blonde-headed Irish alcoholic beverage.

I was fortunate enough to take part in all three Wicked World Tour expeditions. I helped to plan and recorded some of the information in the log book, which is available for a donation. I am also among the founders and directors of the charity Wicked World Tours, as well as a budding author, and I look forward to my first blooming book!

I have recently started a page for Facebook, and if you are on it, please look for my page, and remember if you would like to become my friend, either because there is something of which I missed out here, or because you just wish to chat with me, please mention that you heard of this on