We spoke to the girls who raised over £1000 on Jailbreak this year

‘We used Tinder to get in touch with people in the area’

We caught up with the leader of team Wanderlost, Bronte Ainsley, to find out what they got up to on their Jailbreak shenanigans.

Along with partners in crime, Anna Wickstead and Tara-Kate Hartigan, they’re the first Brookes’ students to take part in what had previously been a charity event exclusive to Oxford University.

The aim of the game is to fund raise at least £100 for charity, and then get as far away from Oxford as you can for the next 36 hours without spending any money, whatsoever.

The girls raised over £1000, and managed to get to Paris and back. They told us everything about their journey: from using Tinder to find people in the area to sleeping in a van.


So, how did it start out?

Luckily Anna had managed to pre-arrange a lift for us to Gatwick airport. It sounds bad but we used Tinder a bit to get in touch with people in the area, it was actually really helpful and there were some really kind people on there that gave us good advice, and then of course there was the guy who gave us the lift, he was heading that way anyway but it was really kind of him.


Gatwick airport, before all the rejection.

How did you get around after that?

We started off with two lifts, one was pre-arranged (Ox to Gatwick), the other we stood outside the airport with a huge “charity hitchhike” banner (Gatwick to Southampton), then we got a train to Portsmouth. The ticket guy was like “I don’t have my machine with me anyway, so even if I wanted to fine you, I couldn’t. Hop on.” Then we managed to get a free taxi ride to Portsmouth ferry port and raised enough money to buy tickets for a ferry to Le Havre in France. We were there for ages, so again managed to collect enough money for train tickets to Paris. It was very stop and start, we got stuck in Southampton for about three or four hours, then spent about five or six hours in Le Havre. It was impossible to get a coach and hitch-hiking was difficult, the language barrier was greater than we expected and everything seemed to be working against us.


First Hitchhike


Stuck in Le Havre. Tara (on the right) feeling ill and cold.

You mentioned in the last article that you didn’t have a game plan, how did this work out?

Yeah, I think a game plan would’ve been a good idea. Anna did email and tweet quite a few companies but with no luck, so we just went in blind. I do think we should have tried to have at least one thing set up though, a flight would have been handy, every service desk at Gatwick turned us away. However, I think what we did was truly in the spirit of Jailbreak, it was very spontaneous but could get quite stressful when we ended up stranded somewhere.

How far did you get?

So we made it to Paris, we’ve all been there before but it was nice to return. It’s a shame we couldn’t spend more time out there, but we still all had lectures that we had to return to, so we were on the coach to London within an hour.


Made it to the Eiffel Tower!

What were some of the highlights of the trip?

One of my highlights of the trip was sleeping in the back of a van, I think it was the best sleep Anna and I had all weekend, but Tara had to stay awake to make sure the guy actually drove us where he said he would. Also, it doesn’t sound like much, but when all three of us were on maximum energy and adrenaline at the same time, like when we were stood with our banner in Le Havre, our last attempt to escape the ghost town (there was actual tumble weed), it was rare that we were all on a high at the same time.


Sleeping in the back of the van.


Anna in the back of the van.

How much money did you end up raising?

We’re currently just over £1000, but we’re accepting donations until the 20th of Feb. All of the money goes towards four different charities. More information can be found here: http://oujailbreak.co.uk/charities

Would you recommend it and would you do it again?

I’d highly recommend people to do Jailbreak, it was definitely a unique experience. I’d never turn down the opportunity to do another Jailbreak, but the girls and I have discussed things we’d do differently if we had the chance. However, I think there’s a million different ways it could be done, we just agreed that a lot of it is down to luck. Just watch our video montage of the journey below to get a feel for it. Maybe it’ll inspire you and your mates to try it next year?


You can still donate to the girls’ fundraiser here, with all of the money going towards four different charities: Against Malaria, Student Minds, Oxford Sexual Abuse & Rape Crisis Centre, and Jacari.