Pair trek from Stamford Bridge to Battle Abbey in aid of charity

Michael Hiett and Jamie Wilkinson with their bikes, together with family and friends, outside Battle Abbey where their trek ended
Michael Hiett and Jamie Wilkinson with their bikes, together with family and friends, outside Battle Abbey where their trek ended

Two teenagers undertook a mammoth trek for charity last week.

Michael Hiett and Jamie Wilkinson pedalled the route King Harold took in 1066 from Stamford Bridge in the East Riding of Yorkshire to Battle Abbey to raise money for Raleigh International.

The pair, both aged 18, set off early in the morning last Wednesday (January 7) and arrived in 1066 Country four days later on Sunday (January 11) at the end of the 309-mile trek.

Michael, of Lower Glen Road, St Leonards, said: “We left hoping to raise at least £800. But we received lots of cash donations and have raised almost £1,300 in total, which is pretty good. I didn’t expect it. Lots of people have been very generous and we would like to thank everyone who supported us. My uncle came with us to support us throughout.

“The ride was hard work and we were very lucky for the majority of the time with the weather. But when we arrived in London we were hit by torrential rain. It was literally like a monsoon. However, it was all worth it in the end. I had to raise at least £800 for Raleigh International as I’m heading to Tanzania on February 9 to undertake a 10-week volunteering placement, helping out with a sanitation project in the north of the country. We will be teaching the importance of sanitation to locals, building toilets and gravity wells.”

Michael, who studied A-levels at Parkwood Sixth Form, intends to go to university to study economics and geography. He hopes his upcoming voluntary work in Tanzania will lead to job opportunities with similar charities and organisations in the developing world.

He and Jamie, who lives in Little Ridge Avenue, St Leonards, had already collected more than £250 in sponsorship and donations from friends and family.

Michael and Jamie decided to pedal from Stamford Bridge to Battle Abbey after a suggestion by Michael’s boss at his job at Victoria Tyre Centre to make their charity trek Hastings-themed. The Battle of Stamford Bridge took place on September 25, 1066, between an English army under King Harold Godwinson and an invading Norwegian force led by King Harald Hardrada and the English king’s brother Tostig Godwinson. Both Hardrada and Tostig along with most of the Norwegians were killed. Although Harold repelled the Norwegian invaders, his victory was short-lived.

On September 28, 1066, the Normans under William II landed on the south coast. Harold had to rush his battered, weary army south to meet the new invasion. Less than three weeks after Stamford Bridge, on October 14, he was defeated and killed at the Battle of Hastings, beginning the Norman Conquest of England.