Uttlesford friends to cross America on longboards for Teenage Cancer Trust

Friends are set to cross America on longboards.

Friends are set to cross America on longboards. - Credit: Archant

Personal challenge, adventure and creating art are the driving forces behind four lads about to take on the breadth of the USA for a charity close to their hearts.

Film-maker Rupert Rixon and friends David Rock, 20, from Dunmow, Tom Nicholson, 19, from Arkesden, and Oli Spain, 20, from Great Sampford, will all be jetting off to Los Angeles today (Thursday, June 4) to travel the 3,000-mile journey to New York in aid of the Teenage Cancer Trust.

And the friends, who met while attending sixth form at Saffron Walden County High School, will be making the enormous journey on longboards – in just 80 days.

“It’s one of those really small ideas you get that spirals out of control,” said Mr Rixon, 20. “We tell people, and we get really positive feedback on it.”

The project began some time ago as an idea to travel to Chicago, with Mr Rixon, of Buntingford, considering funding through Kickstarter as part of a larger initiative.

“I had been frustrated by the school system because I had friends who were really talented but who were not being rewarded by their successes being translated into everyday skills,” he said.

“I thought we needed to create something outside of school – I started making films at 15.

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“I needed money to make films the way I wanted to, so I launched a Kickstarter project.”

Despite this positive beginning, Kickstarter only funds art-related projects and it was when Mr Rixon and friends decided to make a short film of them skating from one end of Wales to the other for charity that they had to consider other means of funding for their travels.

So, they set their minds to finding a charity that would have an impact on a personal level.

“A friend of mine had an immunity disease growing up, which is similar to AIDS, and he spent a lot of time in and out of hospital,” said Mr Rixon.

“Teenage Cancer Trust does a lot of that sort of work, and the people they help are roughly our age, so it seemed a really good fit.”

So far, £1,371.44 of the £12,000 target has been raised and the group – to be joined by two Americans who will film the journey – remains hopeful of making a success of their challenge.

Mr Rixon said: “We’re pretty terrified, but once we get out there it will be fun.”

To sponsor the group, visit https://www.justgiving.com/LAtoNYC,