Pedalling to France for charity in honour of founder of school

IN THE SADDLE From left, Noah D'Aeth, head of sixth form Kevin Rimington, Euan Mcintosh, Martin Prior, Kyle Telford, Shaun Leader and Thomas Gambs. Picture: Allan Hutchings (131194-373)
IN THE SADDLE From left, Noah D'Aeth, head of sixth form Kevin Rimington, Euan Mcintosh, Martin Prior, Kyle Telford, Shaun Leader and Thomas Gambs. Picture: Allan Hutchings (131194-373)
Newbridge Junior School Picture: Maria Bujor

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A GROUP of students are preparing to ride nearly 200 miles to celebrate the life of the founder of their school.

The sixth form pupils from St John’s College in Southsea will ride from their school to Reims, the birthplace of Saint John Baptist De La Salle.

The group of mostly novice cyclists will ride as a celebration of the history of the college and its long connection with the Lasallian Trust.

They are raising money for Help for Heroes and Fanconi Hope – a charity which supports those with Fanconi Anaemia – a genetic disorder affecting children causing bone marrow failure and predisposing to cancer.

Martin Prior, 18, from Cosham, is helping to organise and co-ordinate the trip.

He said: ‘We’ve been planning the route and arranging accommodation since the start of the spring term.

‘I started cycling when I was about four years old, so for me this is a great way to get involved and raise money for charity.’

Ed Hardy, 17, added: ‘I’m relatively new to road cycling.

‘I surprised myself by how much I enjoy it.

‘It’s just as good as rugby and another great way of relieving stress.

‘It has been quite a challenge organising the trip during our A-level revision but it will be a great way to celebrate the end of our exams – and my 18th birthday.’

Catherine Wu, 18 and a boarding student at St John’s is one of only two girls taking part.

She said: ‘I’ve found it difficult to get used to riding a road bike.

‘The height of the bike is different, they go a lot faster, and it is harder to balance but I’ve been practising and training a lot so it is going well now.’

She added: ‘I haven’t been to France before so this will be an enjoyable challenge for me to do and I know I will enjoy it.’

Noah D’Aeth, 18, and from Southsea, wasn’t particularly interested in cycling until he inherited a racing bike.

He said: ‘I was given a bike just about the same time as this opportunity came up.

‘Once my exams are out of the way I hope to train two or three times a week.

‘I haven’t done any endurance cycling yet so imagine it will be very hard.

‘I’m really looking forward to cycling along the Aisne River by the First World War battlefields.

‘I’m currently studying this for a piece of coursework so it will be interesting to visit the area.’

The ride will take place during the summer, starting on Saturday, July 13.

To make a donation or to find out more information about the ride, please visit sjcycle.co.uk.