Charity champions complete cycle challenge to Hastings twin towns

Charity bike riders arrive at Sainsbury's, Hastings. Picture by D&K Photography
Charity bike riders arrive at Sainsbury's, Hastings. Picture by D&K Photography

A TEAM of charity champions has successfully completed a challenge to ride to all four of Hastings twin towns in Europe.

The 34 riders left on Tuesday (April 15) before pedalling to

Bethune in France, Oudenaarde in Belgium, Dordrecht in The Netherlands and then Schwerte, in Germany in aid of Charity for Kids.

The ride, which covered around 900 miles in total, was based on a relay where three teams of cyclists pedalled for eight hours a day.

Teams left the Town Hall on Tuesday at 4.30pm where they cycled 50 miles to Dover.

The first group of riders set off from Calais at 2am to travel 72 miles to Bethune. The temperature had dropped to -4C which took an effect on some of the cyclists with them struggling to keep warm.

The second team then cycled 56 miles to Oudenaarde to take part in the civic reception.

Afterwards they then carried on with the second part of the journey by cycling a further 76 miles to Antwerp in Belgium.

The third group of riders then left Antwerp to cycle 53 across to Dordrecht where they had the civic reception with the town’s mayor, and an hour later they travelled a further 75 miles to meet up with the teams in Nijmegen.

Once they had arrived the first group set off again to cycle 100 miles to Schwerte. Once they arrived the second group took part in the fourth and final civic reception before they cycled 125 miles to Peer in Belgium.

Following their arrival, the third team carried on the challenge throughout the night to reach Tielt in Belgium. The teams then packed up their belongings and headed back to Calais with only 73 miles to go.

Once the teams departed the ferry, they then carried on with the final leg cycling 50 miles back home where they were greeted by friends and family at Sainsbury’s in St Leonards.

Paul Harris, Charity for Kids chairman and founder, said: “This was a very hard challenge from start to finish. The logistics of arranging something on such a large scale was always very difficult, especially with there being such a diverse ability of cyclists who needed to be grouped together.

“We are currently waiting for a total from the cyclists but hope we will have raised between £20,000 and £25,000. This money will be spent on purchasing a static caravan at Crowhurst Holiday Park where we will be able to offer poorly children the opportunity to have a short break with their families.

“Our aim is to open a much-needed respite facility in the town, and we see this as the first step in achieving that goal.

“I would like to thank all the cyclists, drivers and supporters who helped make the Twin Town Cycle a fantastic achievement, as well as Hastings Borough Council and the Mayor of Hastings for their support with Charity for Kids.

“We would also like to thank all of the local companies who took part to sponsor the cycle jerseys.”

Mayor Alan Roberts, the charity’s patron, said: “This was a tremendous achievement by all of the cyclists. I got tired just driving to three of the twin towns, so I can only imagine how they must have felt cycling to all four! And they’ve raised a huge amount for local needy children too, so I really do congratulate them on what they have done, both in completing the cycle ride, and also in raising so much money.”

Charity for Kids will be holding its second gala on Saturday, May 31 at Azur, Marina Pavilion. Tickets are £30 and include a three-course meal along with live music and an auction/raffle. Ring 07568 583206 to book.