Guy Deacon: Running On Empty

Round & About


Guy Deacon CBE will be appearing at Oxford Literary Festival this Friday (22nd March) to talk about his forthcoming book and Channel 4 Documentary – Running on Empty.

Guy’s story is truly inspiring; the former British Army officer he drove from his home in the UK to Cape Town in South Africa ten years after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

The journey fulfilled a childhood dream to drive across Africa, whilst also raising awareness of Parkinson’s Disease which is heavily stigmatised in Africa where it is often linked to witchcraft and black magic, leaving sufferers ostracised by their communities. 

Parkinson’s Disease is the fastest-growing neurodegenerative illness worldwide and has no known cause and no cure. By 2040, more than 13 million people will be living with PD – a quarter of them in Africa where the disease is little understood. On his journey Guy met with Parkinson’s sufferers in almost all the countries he travelled through and learnt what daily life was like for those sufferers that he met, but first he had to get there.

There are never more than a handful of vehicles a year attempting to drive from the North African coast to Cape Town in South Africa. Some never complete the journey. Conflict in Libya, South Sudan, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique, Ethiopia and Cameroon, make any journey exceptionally dangerous. In central Africa, road conditions, particularly in the rainy season make the going difficult and often treacherous. Add illegal checkpoints, extortion, contaminated fuel and lack of services and this was to be a huge undertaking.

Guy first set off in November 2019 making it as far as Sierra Leone in March 2020 when the COVID 19 epidemic struck. The borders were closed and after being stuck in Sierra Leone with no way out, Guy was evacuated by the British Government on an emergency relief flight leaving his trusty van behind. Many adventurers have setbacks on their journeys but for Guy, with each passing month that he waited in the UK for travel restrictions to lift, his Parkinson’s would advance and his mobility would deteriorate. By the time he restarted the journey two years later in March 2022 his condition had deteriorated significantly.

Parkinson’s disease affects mobility so the simplest tasks from emptying pockets, to tying up shoelaces became herculean for Guy. The day to day challenges of living in Africa, the condition of the roads and living in a relatively small space would be challenging to anyone let alone a Parkinson’s sufferer who struggles to move limbs and has to take every task incredibly slowly.

Several times throughout the 12 month journey Guy came close to giving up.  The challenge left him both physically and mentally exhausted and as the days wore on, he found it more and more difficult to communicate and began feeling increasingly isolated and alone. He had a phone to keep in touch with friends and family, but with his limited dexterity it was often easier not to.  In the end it was the kindness of strangers that restored his faith and spurred him on in his darkest hours.

There are countless examples of things going wrong and strangers stepping in to help and offering him a bed for the night. But each time Guy thought that the latest setback would be the end of the road and he would have to give up, there was always someone who would step in to help, a stranger reaching out to help him in his hour of need.

Throughout the 18,000 mile journey Guy kept a video diary and was joined on four occasions by a documentary maker. This has resulted in 85 hours of footage and several thousand photographs of this incredible adventure through the heart of Africa which will be made into a 1 hour documentary for Channel 4 to be released in Spring 2024.

Guy was supported throughout his journey by The Cure Parkinson’s Trust a charity set up to find a cure for Parkinson’s as well as Parkinson’s Africa, whose mission is to raise awareness and empower those with Parkinson’s to make informed decisions about their own health.

At the festival, guy will be speaking with Matthew Stadlen to recount his incredible journey, crossing Europe and the full length of Africa, which took the former army officer and 60 year old father of two over 3 years to complete, see him drive 18,000 miles, across 25 countries, with 5 breakdowns, as well as one emergency evacuation from Sierra Leone during Covid, whilst taking 3650 prescription pills to help manage his Parkinson’s.

Further information on Guy’s event at Oxford Literature Festival can be found here.

Make it a Turquoise Friday!

Round & About


Treat yourself to a luxurious holiday in the Maldives or Mauritius and enjoy some fabulous Black Friday deals with Turquoise Holidays

Turn Black Friday Turquoise with 50 per cent off selected holidays to the Maldives and Mauritius booked from November 26th to 29th.

Turquoise Holidays is offering guests exclusive deals with fabulous prices on spectacular hotels for 2022.

The idyllic Indian ocean paradise of the Maldives and Mauritius offers holidaymakers glorious tropical sunshine amid breath-taking natural beauty, not to mention endless sunshine.

Choose from Constance Moofushi and Constance Halveli in the Maldives both including flights and seaplane transfers.

Travel in May and seven nights in a beach villa at Constance Moofushi, all-inclusive, will cost £2,649 per person, saving £3,100 per couple.

Holidaymakers can enjoy 50 per cent off water villas for travel from April 1st to December 26th, 2022 and 50 per cent off beach villas between May 1st and October 31st, 2022.

Constance Halveli offers seven nights in a water villa, bed & breakfast, from £2,499 per person for travel in May, saving £2,750 per couple. Water villas enjoy a 50 per cent discount for those holidaying from January 4th to December 26th, 2022 and the same amazing saving on beach villas from May 1st to October 31st.

Mauritius invites you to sample the delights of the Constance Prince Maurice and the Constance Belle Mare Plage at prices reduced by 50 per cent for the accommodation.

Junior suites are available at the Constance Prince Maurice for travel from January 7th to December 22nd from £1,549 per person (based on travel in June). Stay for seven nights on a bed & breakfast basis and enjoy return private transfers and flights included in the price, a saving of £1,500 per couple.

Constance Belle Mare Plage has stunning deals for both couples and families. Couples will love benefiting from 50 per cent off prestige rooms, prestige beachfront rooms, junior suites and beachfront junior suites for travel from January 7th to December 22nd, 2022. Spend seven nights half board in a prestige room with return private transfers and flights from £1,449 in June, saving £1,180 per couple.

Treat the family (two adults & two children under 12) to seven nights in paradise staying in a junior suite for £4,600 when travelling in August, saving £2,400 per family.

These exclusive offers and savings are only applicable to bookings made between Friday, 26th November and Monday, 29th November for the Maldives and Mauritius.

Visit or call 01494 678400 to find out more and to book.

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Time for wildlife

Liz Nicholls


Help ensure the survival of beautiful African wild animals by supporting two amazing charities

The last 12 months have been challenging in so many different ways. But to mark World Wildlife Day we’d like to highlight ways you can help the urgent plight of animals in need of your support.

The AfriCat Foundation & Namibian Lion Trust team are working hard to protect the natural habitat has been built up over the last three decades.

But with travel restrictions hampering vital fundraising from safari bookings at Okonjima Lodge, both charities really have gone back into survival mode.The nature reserve is a self-sustaining eco system, unique in Namibia, which has provided so much valuable behavioural and scientific insight. This knowledge, about big cats, grazers, pangolins, hyaenas, rhinos and more, has contributed to considerable understanding of these threatened species.

It might be March but, as the world is only just opening up, why not take up the special offer to buy a beautiful 2021 calendar? These feature 13 amazing images from great photographers including Chris Packham, Rohan Van Wyk, Joe Hubmann, Robin Maeter, Naun Amable, Paul Martens & Wayne Hanssen, of lions, hyenas, pangolins, leopards, cheetahs and zebra.

Check out the AfriCat shop here. Every pound you spend on these gorgeous goodies will help ambitious wildlife projects, in particular building a school in one of the conservancies which borders the western boundary of Etosha National Park. Or take advantage of the Donate Now, Stay Later offer from Okonjima; email [email protected]

Please visit for further info & sign up to the newsletter. Thank you!


For a very different charity – read about England World Cup legend Sir Geoff Hurst’s gin and whisky to support dementia charities here.