Brothers Who Survived Tsunami Went On To Build Flip-Flop Company, Now Sponsors McLaren’s Halo

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McLaren has secured a sponsorship deal, which will result in lifestyle and flip-flop firm, Gandys, appearing on the MCL33’s Halo device—although, it is a one-race deal for the Australian Grand Prix.
The flip-flop company was founded by brothers Rob and Paul Forkan, who were inspired to start the brand after tragically losing both their parents, Kevin and Sandra Forkan, to the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami, when they were in Sri Lanka.

When the tsunami struck, Rob managed to climb a building and found a metal bar to grab onto, and then saved his brother Paul from being swept away by clutching his arm. Their younger siblings, Matty and Rosie, were saved when their parents pushed them onto the roof of their hotel.

When Rob and Paul were 13 and 11 respectively, their parents pulled them out of their British schools, said “pack one bag, we are moving to India”, and took them to Goa. Their parents were of the philosophy that they would receive a healthier and more complete education by travelling the world and helping others. Their parents had previously worked in the fashion industry before quitting their jobs and focusing on humanitarian projects.

The Forkan brothers started Gandys, a name that is the result of the Forkans’ love for India and Gandhi. Their goal was to open the first Orphans For Orphans Foundation’s kid’s campus in Sri Lanka. And they successfully achieved that goal in 2014. Gandys donates 10% of its profits from every pair sold to orphans around the globe.

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Rob said, “By putting Gandys’ branding on the car’s halo, we can help to strengthen the message behind our Orphans For Orphans initiative; creating a protective and inspiring environment for children at risk.” Gandys is the first brand to capitalise on the unique shape of the new Halo cockpit protection structure, which has frequently been compared to the distinctive upper strap of a flip-flop.

The placement of the logo on the MCL33’s Halo was not only perfect from a branding perspective, but also a great opportunity to underline Gandys’ charitable commitment to providing a safer, more protected environment for those at risk,” said John Allert, McLaren’s Chief Marketing Officer.

McLaren’s Formula One cars will be piloted by 2005 and 2006 world champion, Fernando Alonso, and Belgian Stoffel Vandoorne, who is in his second season with the team.

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We believe the partnership between these two establishments took a page out of Bruce McLaren’s book, who said: “To do something well is so worthwhile that to die trying to do it better cannot be foolhardy. It would be a waste of life to do nothing with one’s ability, for I feel that life is measured in achievement, not in years alone.”

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