Student outrage as RAG trip ruined due to travel company collapse

Colm Murphy 29 August 2014

Student fundraisers were shocked yesterday by the news that the RAG Kilimanjaro Trek has been put in jeopardy, as the travel company organising the trip have collapsed.

 The trip, which was raising money for the charities Practical Action and the Meningitis Research Foundation (MRH), was due to take place from the 12th to the 28th of September. Participating students would have had a chance to climb the tallest free-standing mountain in the world, which stands at 5,895m.

President of Cambridge RAG Emma Colliver was forced to inform disappointed students on their Facebook group that the company Student Adventures, who had been employed to run the trip, had ceased to trade.

GBCE Ltd, who trade as Student Adventures, have reportedly collapsed. Calls to the company are being referred to a Nottingham accountancy firm Smith Cooper. Students from other universities, including Nottingham, have also had their plans jeopardised. Some fundraisers, who have raised nearly £3000, have had their trips cancelled last minute whilst they were arriving at the airport.

Practical Action has released a statement informing the fundraisers that, whilst flights were booked, other crucial aspects such as accommodation were not. They've told students: "[because] our primary concern is your safety…Practical Action strongly advises that you do not travel”.

One of those planning on going on the trip, Trinity Hall student Becky Aldridge, was devestated. "I am gutted about what has happened after all of our time and energy spent fundraising."

"Friends and family have sponsored me on the premise I will be climbing Kili but what happens if I don't? Are the charities going to have to give back the money we raised?"

Speaking to The Cambridge Student, Emma Colliver said, on behalf of RAG, she was “shocked and saddened” that the company “we and other national RAGs have worked with for years…have yesterday declared themselves insolvent.” She says she will be “working with our charity contacts to try and rectify the situation as best we can for the Cambridge students who have worked so hard to fundraise for this opportunity.”

Speaking personally, she was also livid with Student Adventures. “I think it is totally unacceptable for Student Adventures not to have given any prior warning to their partners about the state of their finances….My thoughts are with the students.