Cyclist on a mission to help Gambian schools after trekking across Holland

A SOUTHSEA man is on a mission to help improve schools in Gambia after cycling 250 miles in four days across Holland.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 9th June 2016, 6:00 am
Updated Monday, 13th June 2016, 12:47 pm
From left, Stuart Paine, Robert Coulter and Rob Shaw at the finish in Rotterdam
From left, Stuart Paine, Robert Coulter and Rob Shaw at the finish in Rotterdam

Robert Coulter, 37, visited schools in Banjul in March this year. After touring the area he vowed to raise some funds and go back next year to deliver the money in person.

The Airbus worker has now raised £1,500 through a 400km bike journey across Holland from Friday, May 27, until Monday, May 30, in which he and friends Stuart Paine and Rob Shaw cycled an average of 60 miles a day.

Robert said: ‘I was shocked by what I saw in Gambia. There would be about three schoolchildren sharing one pencil between them.

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‘The lack of resources they had in each school I went to was mind-boggling.

‘It sounds crazy until you see it with your own eyes.

‘Kids in this country seem to have everything, but over there, just the act of going to school is seen as a privilege.

‘I thought “I have to come back and help them out”.

‘Not through a charity, but off my own back, so I can see exactly where the money I raise would go and so I can hand them the money face-to-face.

‘Sometimes you just have to go and do things using your own initiative and this is one of those times.’

Robert is a seasoned traveller, having visited 38 countries so far, and chose to cycle around Holland because of the flat roads and the scenery.

The route saw the trio fly in to Rotterdam on Thursday night, cycle to Antwerp in Belgium on the Friday, travel to Eindhoven on the Saturday and up to Utrecht on Sunday before finishing with a final cycle back to their starting point in Rotterdam.

The riders enjoyed sunshine for most of the 
trip before battling through the rain on the way to Rotterdam.

Robert explained: ‘My body was seriously sore and we were all super exhausted after all the cycling as it meant we basically did nothing but be on the bike apart from a few hours’ sleep in hostels for four days.

‘The support we’ve received from people has been unwavering and it’s fantastic to double my target.’

To donate to Robert’s cause, please head to