Glamis couple’s charity trip with ‘Downton’ butler

'Downton Abbey' star actor Jim Carter with Glamis cyclists Jack Davies and Fiona Young, and a copy of the 'Forfar Dispatch'.
'Downton Abbey' star actor Jim Carter with Glamis cyclists Jack Davies and Fiona Young, and a copy of the 'Forfar Dispatch'.

A Glamis couple have returned home after a challenging fund-raising visit to Madagascar.

Fiona Young and Jack Davies signed up for the ‘Madagascar Cycle Challenge’ to raise funds for Marie Curie Cancer Care where they were forced to tackle “hills, hills and more hills.”

Their trip was made more memorable as they were joined by well-known actor Jim Carter, who plays the role of the butler Mr Carson in the hit ITV drama series, ‘Downton Abbey’.

To date, the adventurous couple have raised £6,182.95 through their efforts.

They arrived in Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar, on Saturday, October 11 and started the impressive ride the day after.

They explained: “The trip was made very difficult with hills, hills and more hills, under the searing heat of a tropical sun.”

The trip took in the north east of the island, through highland villages and paddy fields, with lush tropical fruit plantations.

The terrain, an exciting mix of tarmac and dusty red-earth off road trails, proved to be very challenging. A stop one morning at Andasibe National Park provided a much sought after viewing of wild lemurs and also a leech attached to the back of Jack’s leg.

Of the 36 people doing the challenge, 33 suffered badly from “gippy tummies” which made it even more challenging. Jack and Fiona though, still managed to cycle all of the 350 miles, finishing on the Indian Ocean coast on Thursday afternoon. A promised day in the sun on the beach the day after failed to materialise when their flight back to the capital was rescheduled and meant the whole group had to spend 11 hours being bussed back to Antananarivo, no joke in that heat on those very pot-holed roads.

Fiona and Jack would like to thank everyone who sponsored them, donated items for the charity shops they had to raise funds, those who sent messages of support, or helped in any other way.

You can still sponsor them by visiting their online fund-raising page on www.justgiving.com/Jack-Fiona-Madagascar. You can pay by credit or debit card, and the money will go directly to Marie Curie Cancer Care. Where supporters are UK taxpayers, the charity will automatically receive extra in Gift Aid.