Last weekend, 126 students participants aimed to escape the ‘prison’ known as Oxford by either getting as far as possible from the city in 36 hours, or by getting as far from the city and back within 36 hours, because, as RAG pointed out, “there are worse prisons in the world”.
Notable contenders include winners Luka Hennin and Yuval Fertig who made it an impressive 6,900 miles to Buenos Aires in Argentina, the “Flying Dutchmen” who “swam in sangria” in Grand Canaria, and Patrick Gildersleve and Alex Ireland who made it to Folkstone – “twice”.
This was the first time Oxford RAG had organised Jailbreak since 2010, and the event has been billed a resounding success with participants returning with a plethora of interesting stories.
Perhaps missing the jail-‘break’ aspect of the event, Patrick Gildersleve and Alex Ireland of Worcester College almost managed to end up in Jail after attempting to walk through the channel tunnel. They said: “We were at the services in Folkstone for a stupidly long time and were given a lift near to the channel tunnel.
“There was no-one around so we decided to walk it. The way we saw it, anyone who came would either take us somewhere useful or they’d give us a warm bed, i.e. jail.”
Luckily for them, the security guards who put a stop to their efforts were sympathetic, and after taking a couple of pictures and giving the boys a lift, the two ended up sleeping in an information box all night.
Another group also risked spending the night in jail, with the RAG executive having to send an emergency warning to all teams in the Heathrow vicinity saying: “We’ve had reports of people being escorted out of Heathrow airport by police. “We’ve been asked to notify you that entering UK airport terminals without a valid ticket is illegal, and advise you to avoid airports.”
It is understood from a RAG executive officer that the particular team was in fact ejected from the first class lounge at Heathrow for entering without a ticket.
Team Girona, who made it to Paris and consisted of Iona Dixson, Flo Barnett, Jonty Lord and Greg Albury said: “It was an interesting experience and we’re really glad we did it. We’re aiming to raise £1000 in total.
“We raised money along the way by taking daft photos, swapping clothes and doing dares.”
However they warned against relying too much on strangers, saying that “friends and family are the way to go”.
Flo particularly was adamant on this point, recounting that teenagers egged the team as they tried to hitch a lift. She said: “Please give us money because we were egged!”
Another team however were extremely grateful to strangers, saying that whilst they were standing outside a community centre a stranger recognized their charity t-shirts and invited them in. In the centre a whip-round was then made to help the group on their way.
The RAG team was happy with the event. RAG President Flo Avery said: “Overall the event went really well, and we’ve had positive feedback. Almost everyone said they would take part again, so hopefully next year it will be even bigger and better.”
Donations are still possible at https://www.raise2give.com/oxford-jailbreak-2013/, with ‘The Fellowship’ currently in first place having raised £1010, followed closely by ‘Girona’ and ‘Jess4Jailbreak’ who have raised £870 and £550 respectively.