By Lindsey Turnbull
A special signing of the book ‘Coast to Coast: a trundle across the Pyrenees’ took place last week with author and former award-winning RCIPS detective chief superintendent Derek Haines seeing a good many of his books eagerly snapped up by event goers. The book signing, which took place at Fidelity Bank on West Bay Road, brought Derek and his walking partner Michael Burcombe together with representatives of Inclusion Cayman (formerly the Special Needs Foundation) as it is to this important charity that 10 per cent of the proceeds of Derek’s book are going.
Derek is well-known in the community for the huge amount of charitable fundraising he has been able to achieve for other worthy organisations, such as assisting with providing the funding for the new premises for Jasmine (formerly known as HospiceCare). This latest project, to ‘trundle’ as he calls it from the Atlantic side of the Pyrenees to the Mediterranean, a 53-day and almost 600-mile trek, was accompanied by his friend who he calls Burco. Derek did the walk in aid of the charity, Inclusion Cayman, and funds raised by the pair were supplemented by further fundraising as well. The Governor Martyn Roper became the patron of the walk and assisted with the fund-raising process by providing Government House as the venue for a special dinner to help increase donations. Such events helped to raise an incredible million US dollars for this worthy cause.
The book is born
The book itself came about because Derek and Burco set off and found they were sending notes back each day of the walk. These notes became the backbone for the book, Derek said, with his writing abilities evolved along with his trek along the mountains.
“You’ll see in the first two or three days it’s very much a policeman writing up his evidence and then it started to develop and I started to describe things that I was seeing and really getting in to it,” he confirmed. “Don’t get me wrong, I’m no poet, but certainly there’s a difference in the writing. Somebody then said: when’s the film coming out and when’s the book! I thought, that’s not a bad idea!”
Once home from his trip he assembled the huge amount of material, both notes and photos, that he had acquired during the journey and, with the editing help of his daughter Lizzie, he put Coast to Coast together.
Raising funds was not the only motivation for the walk, a walk he had wanted to do for almost 50 years, as awareness for Inclusion was also an important reason.
Susie Bodden, CEO of Inclusion Cayman, said that she had known Derek via Rotary and had previously talked him into running a marathon for the organisation, which proved so successful that when she and chairman Nik Tatarkin heard of his intention to walk the Pyrenees, they asked if he could do so in aid of Inclusion and so the relationship was cemented.
“It was so successful. We received almost daily updates of the trek via What’s App. It was just so exciting you felt like you wanted to be there with them. Our chairman Nik joined them for a few days and actually took the cover photo for the book,” Susie advised. “It was such a great thing for the guys to do.”
Susie confirmed that Derek and Burco’s aim to raise both funds and awareness had definitely succeeded. A variety of well publicised events led to the Coast to Coast walk which was talked about all year, thereby contributing to the financial success of the walk and also raising a great deal of awareness for the charity, which has, in turn, meant an increasing number of parents of children with special needs approaching the charity for help. Inclusion Cayman relies solely on charitable donations for its funding.
Nik confirmed: “Derek has given us a wonderful pot from which to reach people, not just financial but awareness. One big problem for people with disabilities is lack of knowledge, it’s education of the public. This is a really big part of what we are doing. We’re trying to change hearts and minds as to how people with disabilities should be treated. Derek is such an amazing spokesperson for that. It’s much more than money.”