At the beginning of March, I met the team at Environment First who have entered the Eastbourne Soapbox Race on Sunday 20th September. They have chosen to use the event to raise money for St Wilfrid’s, and while I was there they allowed me to have a go in their brilliant creation!

Environment First took over from Kier Environmental Services last June, after Eastbourne Borough Council switched to an in-house waste service. They run a street cleansing service, as well as the refuse, recycling and garden collections from their base, which backs on to the back of our Superstore in Moy Avenue!

I asked Sarah Keeley, Environment First’s Contract Administrator, how having an entry in the Soapbox Race came about.

‘It came about because someone had seen it at a meeting and we thought we’d have a go. I’ve got a link to St Wilfrid’s because my uncle died last year. I did a bungee at Brighton in September and I raised about £850 for you guys, which was a good laugh. I’m a bit of an adrenaline junkie.

‘We brought the go kart off of eBay. Then we were trying to decide what to make and we thought we would go with what we know.’ 

After the go kart arrived, it took three days to cut it down to a more basic frame and to centralise the driver’s seat. It then took a further two weeks to put the body together, using wood donated by Stamco, the building suppliers next door. ‘We’ve gone all out, we’ve got the bins, we’ve logo-ed it up exactly like a dustcart.’ It really is a spitting image and they will now be spending the next month adding the final touches and giving it a test run – ‘We’re all ready to rock apart from a few minor details.’

On the day, Neil Henson, the Workshop Foreman, will be driving the kart, whilst his colleagues will be giving him the important first push off of the ramp start. He will then have to navigate the kart around two jumps, two chicanes and two bends. ‘I’m looking forward to it, it’ll be a good laugh,’ said Neil, ‘I want to get down first so I can watch everyone else come down!’

In the kart with him will also be the team mascot, Enviro-bear. ‘Enviro-bear was found on the seafront and Richard, the Street Cleansing Foreman, tried to give him back to whoever had lost him, but without success, so we adopted him.’

Here at the hospice we are very grateful for all of their fundraising efforts, and we wish them the best of luck at the race.

If you would like to support the Environment First team and help them raise money for St Wilfrid’s, please visit their Just Giving page. You can also go and cheer them on in the race on Sunday 20th September from 12pm, starting at Dukes Drive and finishing at Helen Gardens.