Nearly 150 students took part in Oxford Lost 2011 this weekend, being dumped in different mystery locations and forced to find their own way back. The event is set to raise £14,000 for Shelter, a new record for the University. </p>

147 students took part in the RAG event last Saturday, doubling the number of participants from last year. Lost was open to students from both Oxford University and Oxford Brookes. </p>

Having been divided and taken to three secret locations of Bournemouth, Portsmouth and Sandbanks, contestants competed in a race to hitch their way back to OUSU. </p>

One team, The Banter Basement, came back via London and managed to fit in some casual sightseeing, visiting Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square and Big Ben.</p>

Others took a detour to enjoy a seaside day out.</p>

Dressed in extravagant costumes ranging from Pacman to Flowerpot Man, the teams found some bystanders went to great lengths to help them out.</p>

One contestant said to Oxford RAG that one of the people who gave them a lift “really restored my faith in humankind.”</p>

“She was originally just driving home to Ringwood, but first took us to Salisbury and then to Newbury, even though her family laughed and said she was crazy to take three university kids that far. She even stopped at a garage so we could stock up on food and drinks.”</p>

Others adopted the bargaining approach to try and make their way home. Thorne Ryan and Yasmin Dunkley, from team Lost and Found, said that during their journey “we were spoken to by a man who wanted our picture by his van (which was also his office) and Yaz said he could have a picture if he gave us a lift. So we all ended up getting a lift about 15 miles to some motorway services.”</p>

Thorne said, “It gave me a real sense of satisfaction: after 30mins of waiting by a roadside, it’s amazing so be in a vehicle and travelling even 5 miles – you really start to appreciate cars and the people who were charitable enough to let you into theirs.”</p>

This year’s winners were Olivia Baddeley and Lara Attarzadeh. Styling themselves as Team Badarzadeh, they made it back to OUSU in an impressive three hours and ten minutes, hitching the last leg of their journey in a black cab.</p>

Caroline Wedmore, Oxford RAG Secretary and organiser of Lost, said “we are really pleased with how the event went. Fundraising wise, our participants have done a fantastic job.”</p>

The amount of money raised means that the current RAG executive has very nearly reached the ambitious target it set for itself of £100,000 a marked increase from the £69,000 raised last academic year.</p>