Friday, 21 September 2012

A driving passion to help Missing People

The Moto-taxi Junket is a race across Peru on a woefully underpowered moped taxi-bike (think tuk-tuk, but considerably worse!).

There is no set route; the distance of the race will range between 3,500km and 5,000km. There is NO back-up or assistance. The terrain encompasses the most dangerous roads in the world, from single-track mountain passes (thousand metre abysses a few inches from your wheels!) to desert and jungle mud. The weather will match the diversity of the extreme terrain - everything from freezing cold high altitude to sweaty rainforests.

With only 2 weeks to cover the distance and a top speed (on flat and paved roads!!) of 40kmph, that is more than 9hrs / 350km a day!

Last time 62 teams left the start point in the Peruvian Andes. 8 teams made it to the finish line.

The following comment is taken from a report on the event:

“Bones were broken, a moto-taxi plumetted off a cliff into a river (without its drivers), one man was run over by his team mate, £65,000 was raised for charity by the teams and to the disbelief of pretty much everyone it was nobly demonstrated that taking rubbish moto-taxis across massive mountains, into sweaty jungles and across barren deserty plains really is a splendid idea.”

We are taking on this challenge to raise money for Missing People, particularly because this is a very special charity for Sam.  His cousin and good friend Blake Hartley, went missing two days after his 25th birthday in Chamonix, France, on the 8th August, 2004. Blake disappeared without a trace. Our challenge is dedicated to him.

The reason we chose Missing People, is that it’s the UK’s only charity that works to act as a lifeline for anyone who is missing in the UK, as well as their loved ones left behind. Currently, not every call the charity receives can be answered and with your help, Missing People can be a lifeline to every single caller.

Obviously, we hope that you will never have cause to use the services of Missing People, but if you do, you will understand, as we do, just what an amazing job they do.

For more details on the challenge and how to donate visit:

By Sam Beaver and James Montgomery,
in advance of their epic moto-taxi adventure in Peru - The Moto-Taxi Junket

Friday, 14 September 2012

Dedicated Voluntary Support

I joined ‘Missing People’ back in August 2008, with the role of giving presentations to Rotary clubs about the ‘missing issue,’ and about what the charity does. Made up of over 1.2 million Rotary members - known as Rotarians -in 34,000 Rotary clubs in 200 countries and geographical areas around the world, Rotary International forms a global network of business, professional and community leaders.  These leaders volunteer their time and talents to serve communities locally and around the world - and form strong, lasting friendships in the process. 

I took up the role after being rejected for a trainee charted accountant job I particularly wanted. I knew I needed to diversify my CV, and the position offered by Missing People was a perfect way to improve my communication skills and ability to communicate with business people and professionals.  I know that many of these people would be similar to clients in the career I wanted.
The presentations last around fifteen minutes, delivered to groups of around fifteen to twenty people. With regards to preparing for each presentation, I make sure that I memorise everything that I am going to say, removing the need for notes during the presentation. The content that I deliver is the same for every presentation, so even though my first presentation required a few days of presentation, now a few hours is all I need in order to prepare. 

The fact that I do not need to use any notes or cue cards when giving the presentation, means that I can always keep eye contact with my audience. Additionally it enables me to use my hands as a non-verbal communication tool. I have received very positive feedback from the Rotary clubs which I have spoken to.  An official at the last Rotary club I spoke at specially commented on my clear delivery and use of hands for added emphasis.

After one year at the charity, my self-confidence and ability to communicate with a wide range of people have improved immeasurably. The skills I’ve developed working for Missing People, helped me greatly in securing a graduate finance job last month. For anyone who wanted to improve their chances of success in today’s competitive job marke, voluntary work is a perfect way to do.

If you find Shanake’s story inspiring, please click to enquire about voluntary work with Missing People.

By Shanake Amarasinghe 
Dedicated Missing People Volunteer

Around 250,000 people go missing in the UK each year. The Missing Blog aims to give a voice to all those affected by this issue.

Written by families and friends of missing people, supporters working to raise awareness of the cause, and volunteers and staff at the charity Missing People, we hope that this blog will offer a window into the issue of missing.

The charity Missing People is a lifeline when someone disappears. To find out more about Missing People and ways that you can support the charity visit

Call or txt the charity Missing People for free on 116 000, 24/7 if you or anyone you know is affected by a disappearance.