Hampshire Probation Service Ride to Paris
Hampshire Probation Officers donned their bicycle clips and cycled 300 miles from London to Paris in four days raising nearly £17,000. Organisers Kevin Baxter and Hayley Maidment, both Probation Officers based in Hampshire, thought it would be a good idea to form a group of cyclists to make the trip from London to Paris for charity.
Kevin instigated the event by sending an email to everyone in Hampshire Probation Service to see who would take up the challenge and he was overwhelmed by the response. Over the last two years Kevin has organised other events to raise money for local charities. Hayley said “Every year the Hampshire Probation Officers do a charity event and this year we chose Dreams Come True as we wanted to do something bigger, so we set ourselves the challenge of raising £10,000.”
Due to the large number of participants delegating tasks was inevitable, it was therefore agreed that Hayley would oversee the training, administration and publicity. Kevin agreed to plan the route, deal with financial matters, accommodation, transport and oversee the event as a whole.
A diverse group of 23 people accepted the challenge including one man who was a former cyclist who wanted to get back in the saddle after recovering from a broken back. It was a real eclectic mix of all ages and backgrounds and there were a variety of reasons for wanting to take up the challenge. Unfortunately due to injury one rider had to drop out at Dover.
“We had Probation staff and their families coming with us. Most of them were novice riders and purchased their first road bike specifically for this challenge. We decided to organise the ride independently and we had family acting as our support staff who also covered their own costs to ensure every penny raised goes to our chosen registered charity, Dreams Come True. The charity aims to make the dreams of terminally and seriously ill children come true and we want to pay for as many dreams as we can for local children.”
We practiced in all weather conditions, over every type of terrain throughout the New Forest, cycling up to 60-90 miles a day in preparation. Along with the cyclists there were other people who wanted to raise money, but did not want to jump on a bike, they were involved in cake sales, raffles, quiz nights, fun days, garden parties, a fete and a netball tournament.”
After the epic race Hayley said: “It looks as if the total raised for Dreams Come True is now nearing £17,000, which is amazing. Luckily, there were no major injuries. The bike ride was just unbelievable and I just have sheer pride in the whole team. The riders all had a ball and completed the challenge and we will have a bond for life.”
Kevin said “I spent numerous hours planning the route, including travelling to France with Martin Neal (Fundraising Manager, Dreams Come True), selecting accommodation, worrying about transport and the five day event itself. I feared something would go horribly wrong on the journey from Buckingham Palace to the Eiffel Tower, but luckily my fears never materialised. The event was a great success due to the resilience of the cyclists and their determination to complete the event under any circumstance with a smile on their faces. I feel extremely proud of what we have achieved as a team. I would like to especially thank the Support Team, who guided and fed us, without them this would not have been achieved.”
Author: James Gunn
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