Two Cambridge students were revelling in their success on Monday morning, having won the University’s RAG jailbreak. The annual charity competition challenged over 100 teams to get as far away from Cambridge as possible in 36 hours.
The winners, Nick Millet and Reza Khorasanee, both from Fitzwilliam College, managed to get all the way to Washington DC without spending a penny. Setting off at 9am from Parker’s piece, dressed in tuxedos, they managed to raise £150 in two and a half hours by performing a series of magic tricks.
On the train to London Reza’s ability to solve a rubix cube in under 40 seconds earned the pair £120. From there they targeted the financial district before heading to Heathrow where they continued to impress with their card tricks and illusions.
According to the pair, it was their tuxedos that attracted attention. Yet, although the magic was planned, the outfits were “a last minute decision”.
By the afternoon, the boys realised that they had enough money to afford the $700 return tickets to New York. The pair made it to America in just 19 hours. Continuing to raise money when they got there, the boys got a coach to Washington on Saturday Evening, arriving just before their 36 hours were up.
However, despite the undoubted success of their magic tricks, it wasn’t just this that enabled them to raise such an extraordinary amount of money. “Surprisingly, we found connections with a lot of people we met.
Someone in the city knew my uncle, and a lawyer we met in America had just listened to a talk by Professor Michael Lamb, one of my lecturers.”
Professor Michael Lamb made headlines in U.S. last month when he gave evidence in a landmark gay rights case in California.
Nick, an SPS student, told us. “Even on the train to Liverpool Street we met an ex-RAG rep who donated £40”.
Returning to Fitz at 9am on Friday, the pair have described the trip as a surreal experience: “I was back in dissection at 10”, marvelled Reza, a medic. Commenting on the trip, he added, “once we started making serious money, we had high hopes, but we never thought we’d make it to America.”
Other RAG teams also did very well this year. The second and third pairs made it to Abu Dhabi and Dubai respectively, with a number of students reaching Turkey. Some pairs even managed to hitchhike as far as Alicante in Spain, Berlin, and Slovakia.
Cambridge RAG supports a number of charities, including the Cystic Fibrosis Trust and Jimmy’s Night Shelter.