THREE British cyclists will take part in a 6, 000-mile charity cycle ride from Bury St Edmunds, London on April 28 and are expected to arrive in Kigali on July 4.
This is in a bid to raise £80,000 (about RwF 76m) to help procure sports equipment for 140 schools in Rwanda.
Thirty-one year old Pete White from Bury, Pete Goodwin, 28 from Colchester, Julian Claxton, 28 from Lowestoft and support rider Neil Dyke, 52 originally from Bury will cycle for 70 days to raise money for ‘Sport for Rwanda’.
‘Sport for Rwanda’ is a fundraising appeal that was launched in 2011 to ensure the legacy of the 2012 London Olympics Pre-Games Training Camp stretches far beyond 2012.
Both the Rwanda Olympics and Paralympics teams will train in Bury ahead of their specific events later in July and August respectively.
The ‘Cycle to Rwanda’ journey that starts at the West Suffolk Athletics Arena in Bury St Edmunds, London on April 28 will see the British cyclists go through France, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda and finally arrive in Rwanda.
With sponsorship from Denny Bros, a local company in Bury the cyclists have secured £6000 for Koga bikes that can see them withstand the deserts of Sudan and Ethiopian mountains and according to White, “The bikes are absolutely perfect for what we are undertaking. They are the perfect mix of comfort, speed, reliability and practicality.”
Other companies have come in to sponsor the cyclists’ head gear and clothing, ferry crossings from France to Tunisia amidst other needs like camping equipment, bike spares and tools, electronic/communications equipment and medical equipment.
Rwanda’s chef de mission to this year’s London Olympics, also the programme director at the Rwanda National Olympic Sport Committee, Serge Mwambali, believes that the Olympics are not really about winning but about sharing the heritage of one’s country.
Among other activities, Bury heritage shops will be stocked with Rwandan crafts and produce so that businesses and individuals can have the opportunity to sponsor both the Rwandan Olympic and Paralympic teams.
Schools from Bury have been invited to join the project and learn more about Rwanda’s history as well as building links with different schools in Rwanda.
Daniel Beniston, attaché for the Rwandan teams said; “We wanted a location that was extremely keen to host the teams and I did site inspections based upon facilities, eagerness of the local community and we were looking for something that was quintessentially English.
In conjunction with the Rwandan High Commission in London, the Bury St Edmunds Borough Council organised a convention, last July, where over 500 Rwandans from all over Europe visited Bury to see the place that will host the country’s athletes later this year.
Rwanda has never won an Olympic medal, but Jean de Dieu Nkundabera won bronze at the 2004 Athens Paralympics.