£7000 for WaterAid in memory of Tim Oakes

Together with friends and family, Angie Gaunt has raised nearly £7,000 for WaterAid’s work in Ethiopia in memory of her husband Tim Oakes, who died in a plane crash in Nepal last September.

17 Jun 2013

Trekking to Everest base camp was a life-long ambition for Tim, who was a keen hill walker. Tim had trained intensively for the challenge and was in peak fitness, but sadly never fulfilled his dream. While flying to Lukla, the plane he was travelling on crashed on take-off from Kathmandu, killing all 19 people on board.

Tim was a strong supporter of many charities, and donated regularly. His colleagues, friends, and family thought it appropriate to honour his memory through supporting the work of an organisation he felt passionately about. 

Angie said: "WaterAid was very close to Tim’s heart. He and the family travelled a great deal, and by visiting countries such as Ethiopia, Tanzania and other areas of Africa, could appreciate how lucky we are being able to have clean water at the turn of a tap.

"He was passionate about conserving this natural resource and was always encouraging the family to turn the tap off when brushing our teeth and using the half-flush on the toilet."

Tim Oakes friends and family fundraising for WaterAid in his memory Donations were collected for WaterAid at an event celebrating Tim’s life. However his colleagues at Lancashire County Council wanted to do more.

They organised a fundraising event, inviting people to run, walk or cycle 21 miles along the Guild Wheel route in Preston being sponsored in Tim’s name. Angie agreed this would be a fitting tribute as Tim loved his exercise!

A total of 70 people took part in the event, including Angie and daughter Joanna, 22, as well as friends and colleagues of Tim’s, who were all struck by the tragic circumstances around his death.

Despite Tim’s accident, Angie says it’s important for people to still follow their dreams, but advises that people ensure they have researched their challenge in great depth, especially, if it is more extreme. People should choose reputable travel companies and, if the challenge is more extreme, check with the travel company about the variety of risks that may exist.  

"Tim has a poster showing a man on the top of a mountain, with the words: 'It’s easier to go downhill than up, but the view is from the top'. This really sums Tim up. He truly believed you have to put in the hard work to reap the benefits.

"He spent 18 months getting really fit in preparation for his Everest Base Camp trip. He therefore knew that if he became ill in any way, then it would be due to altitude and not physical fitness."

Barbara Frost, Chief Executive for WaterAid, said: "We were all extremely sorry to hear about the tragic death of Tim Oakes, and are very grateful that his family, colleagues and friends felt supporting WaterAid in this way would be a fitting tribute to such a charitable man."

"WaterAid is working towards a future where every family in every village and town will have access to safe water and sanitation. The money raised by Tim’s family will contribute to this vision, going directly to transform lives through our work in Ethiopia."

It can cost as little as £15 to ensure one person can have access to safe water, sanitation and improved hygiene. The money raised so far in Tim’s memory could therefore transform the lives of nearly 450 people in Ethiopia.

As part of keeping Tim’s spirit alive, the family is also taking over sponsorship for a child in Ethiopia, who Tim previously sponsored. The family wants to commit to ongoing contributions to WaterAid.

Angie said: "We now want to create more of a legacy in Tim’s memory, rather than have this one-off event so the association between WaterAid and Tim’s life will live on."