Last birthday, I turned 40. Time to start doing crazy physical challenges to try and prove I've still got "it". And, after all (so I've been reliably informed), life begins at 40...or, in my case, begins again. For example, I have just moved back to the UK after living in NZ for 10 years; I have given up my last career (as a fire fighter in the NZ Fire Service) and will begin training for a new one (as an Osteopath - which will take 4 years!) in September. And I thought about the children out there who have to struggle against the odds - the children hoping to be fostered or adopted, who live below the poverty line, who are sexually exploited - who may never get one beginning, let alone a second.
Since 1867, Barnardo's has been working to give such under-privileged children a chance at life, regardless of circumstances, gender, race or disability, striving to help unleash the potential that is in everyone.
The first form of charity I was ever aware of as a child, in fact, was the Barnardo's collecting box, shaped like a little yellow house with a dark red roof, into which we put spare change. Now, I have the opportuity to try and raise more than just a bit of spare change.But only with YOUR help.
In order to lure your hard-earned money away from you, I will be cycling from Land's End to John O'Groats (LEJOG). Now, I was surprised to find how many people do this ride for charity - many groups with lots of support undertake it every year. So, to be different and to make it harder (and therefore hopefully more worthy of your support), I will not only be traveling solo (i.e. no moral support when its raining, no vehicle to carry my bags, or fix my bike if it breaks!), but will also be taking a longer, more challenging route.
The standard, direct, LEJOG route is a shade under 1000 miles, follows many main roads, and is completed in around a fortnight or less. My route will take me through 10 of the UK's National Parks, along some of the remotest and highest roads in the country, and covers a rather daunting 1603.81 miles (hence my fund target! I have no idea how much I will actually raise, but I hope that the equivalent of £1/mile does not seem too greedy. Actually, I'm hoping to raise far more than this, but that's all down to you!). As I will be carrying my own gear, I anticipate covering 50-80 miles/day, and a time frame of about 30 day's cycling.
I will hopefully find the occasional computer en route, by which means I will endeavour to post regular updates and photos on my travel blog, which gets brought out and dusted off every time I embark on a new adventure. I started it 5 years ago when I motorcycled around South America (a trip that also incuded a big chunk of charity work), and it's been coast to coast in Canada, up Kilimanjaro and on a 1978 BMW motorbike trip in Europe since then. This will be the 5th installment, and you can follow my progress at www.crazyroadstour.blogspot.com, as well as find accounts of my other trips if the fancy takes you.
So, its over to you. The success (or not) of this venture is in your capable hands. If you heard about the fundraiser from me, then thank you for following it up. Now, please donate something and tell your friends! If you found your way here because a mutual friend sent you, well thank you even more. And now tell your friends! And if you found your way here accidentally, then fate is giving you a message. And thank you too. Oh, and if you're internationally based, the exchange rate is just about ideal for donations! ;-p
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So please dig deep and donate now.