Edwina Sorkin was a highly successful international businesswoman and worked for Avon for 28 years, travelling the world and taking part in many global events to support the company’s breast cancer crusade. Following her retirement she converted a 270-year-old farmhouse in the Eden Valley into Cheskin House, a luxury country guesthouse. It was during this time, that she came up with the idea of her first challenge to raise money for cancer charities by driving from Cumbria to Beijing in 2014 with her close friend Kate Sleath.
This was followed by the Arctic Challenge in 2016 when Edwina and Kate were joined by three other women, Helen Stobart, Liz Tinkler and Kerrie Ellison, to drive non-stop to Nordkapp, the most northerly point in the Arctic Circle.
She said: “Having left corporate life behind me, I realised I had two goals: firstly to put all my passion for people, hospitality and design under one roof, which I achieved at Cheskin House and, secondly, to do something unique that would make a significant difference in the world.
“When we completed the Beijing challenge in 29 days I just didn’t want it to end there. The fight against cancer goes on and the funds that we are raising can make a vital difference. Our next challenge to the Arctic Circle was even tougher but we did it in less than four days by driving with no overnight stops – an incredible achievement.
“Now we are gearing up for our third and final challenge and we are really pulling out all the stops for this one. Driving in Tuk Tuks all day will be hard work but we are determined to achieve our target of raising £100,000 – and hopefully more – with this one.”
Helen Stobart lives in Penrith and has undertaken many challenges to raise money for local charities since her two grown-up children left home. She previously worked in a school in Cumbria for 15 years and volunteered in a school in Africa after that. Her love of the outdoors and trying anything new has taken her up Kilimanjaro, Machu Picchu, cycling from London to Paris and closer to home, the coast to coast.
She said: “I am finally able to dedicate more time to causes close to my heart. Having seen first hand the devastating effects of cancer, with two close friends battling the disease, my drive to raise more money and awareness is leading me into this next adventure.”
Kate Sleath is combining two of her great passions as a member of the team…driving and philanthropy. Kate, from Wetherby in West Yorkshire, is a rallying enthusiast and advanced motorist and finished in the top 100 in a Formula Woman competition to encourage more women into motor racing.
Over the years she has undertaken a lot of voluntary work with The Samaritans and children with special needs and is also actively involved with the NSPCC in Harrogate. She has taken part in a number of charitable challenges, including walking the Three Peaks in 11 hours for Macmillan Cancer Support and completing the Inca Challenge.
She said: “Cancer is one of the toughest challenges in anyone’s life and, sadly, there are few people who are never touched by it in some way. It’s time to put all my energies into doing something that stretches me and makes all the difference to Macmillan Cancer Support and Cancer Research UK.”
Liz Tinkler is a Cumbrian girl who loves a challenge. She lives on a smallholding near Penrith where she looks after two holiday properties and various animals, including her beloved horses. Liz is passionate about the two causes that she will be raising funds for as a number of her friends and family have been diagnosed with cancer and she has seen how it affects the lives of the person as well as family and friends.
She has taken part in a number of fundraising challenges including long-distance cycle rides, sponsored walks and a parachute jump with her son Adam, as well as supporting her daughter Laura when she ran the London Marathon in aid of Cancer Research UK.
She said: “I was very excited about joining the team and driving to the Arctic, but I see this Tuk Tuk Challenge as my biggest yet.”