TWO orphans of the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami were welcomed to Cornwall on Saturday as they launched their new flip-flop brand, Gandys, in the county.
Brothers Paul and Rob Forkan, who lost their parents as the family celebrated Christmas in Sri Lanka, donate a percentage of their profits to build orphanages across the world.
Cornish retailer, Ann’s Cottage, is telling the lads’ story as they launch the footwear in their surf stores.
The brother’s weekend in Cornwall involved a host of Cornish experiences with various businesses.
Rock-based Camel Ski School was the first port-of-call, where Charlie Toogood took Paul and Rob stand-up paddle boarding. They then spent more time in the water with Wavehunters surf school in Polzeath before a pasty-crimping lesson with Chough Bakery in Padstow.
A stay at The Park in Mawgan Porth in an eco-lodge finished the day off in true Cornish comfort.
Paul said: “We both enjoy adventure and travel so the paddle boarding was very therapeutic and the surfing gave us that adrenaline rush. It was topped off by staying at the eco lodge whilst looking at the picturesque Cornish scenery and enjoying our ‘Gandy’s’ homemade pasty. It was a fun-filled weekend.”
The Gandys mission statement ‘Orphans for Orphans’ evolved from the tragedy almost nine years ago.
By 2004, parents Kevin and Sandra Forkan had travelled around much of Asia with their four children, Rob, Paul, Mattie and Rosie. That year, the family celebrated Christmas in a fishing town called Weligama in Sri Lanka.
On Boxing Day, the 2004 Tsunami hit and the Forkan children lost their parents.
The eldest of the siblings, Paul and Rob, saved up enough money to continue traveling around the world - in flip flops - as their parents had once planned.
They were determined to bring something positive out of the tragedy and set up Gandys Flip-Flops.
Becci Cornelius, of Ann’s Cottage, said: “We want to really engage people with Gandys as it’s such an inspiring company that gives something back. It’s great that our customers can make a difference simply by buying a pair of flip flops. It was fantastic to have the guys down here and we hope the weekend has given them a taste for Cornwall.”
Paul added: “It has been an awesome weekend promoting Gandys around Cornwall. We had great scenery, sunny weather and it was lovely to meet the locals who are super friendly.”