It is rare for ShelterBox to need to post a notice of condolence on its website. Although, as a disaster relief charity, our role is responding to emergency and tragedy, we never expect to be writing about the sudden loss of one of our supporters.
This week everyone at ShelterBox was deeply shocked and saddened to hear of Sharon Bridgman’s death. She and her husband Tim were in the second year of a great personal adventure, cycling from ‘North2North’ across four continents and 32 countries. They had already journeyed from Norway, south across Europe and Africa. Then, the unstoppable Bridgmans carried on from the tip of South America, heading towards Central and North America. Their final destination would have been Alaska. In anyone’s book, this was already a remarkable feat of endurance and sheer determination.
So, it is beyond sadness that the Bridgmans’ great exploit has ended in tragedy, and will never be completed. Sharon died in Bolivia after her bike was in collision with a vehicle while crossing the world’s largest salt flats – the Uyuni – close to the Bolivian / Chilean border.
Sharon and Tim had been cycling almost non-stop since June 2012, but intended to break their journey in July this year to return to Britain for a friend’s wedding. Sharon was the diarist for their travels, recounting their adventures in a blog with insight and good humour. Her cycling stamina hid a painful back condition, but cycling was her passion, and she and Tim used it to raise funds for charities.
We are very proud and grateful that the Bridgmans chose ShelterBox to benefit from their generosity of spirit. Sharon wrote about ShelterBox, ‘During our trip we’re raising awareness and money for ShelterBox. We have chosen them as they are based locally and help people all around the world. We went to visit them and were really impressed with the work that they do. Their vision is of a world where everyone affected by disaster has access to the shelter and basic equipment they need to survive and live in dignity and safety.’
In paying tribute to Sharon, our hearts go out to Tim and to all Sharon’s family and friends at this desperately sad time.