On their bikes for Breast Cancer Care!

Hedingham School students, Tom and Amy Bowles, are not the kind of teenagers to laze around and play on computer games in their rooms.  The brother and sister, who live in Castle Hedingham, have planned to make a 600 mile epic cycle ride from Kent down to the South of France during August!  The idea originally came from Tom at Christmas-time when he and Amy decided that they wanted to do something for people suffering from breast cancer as they knew someone who had been recently diagnosed. When talking with friends, they realised that everyone seemed to know someone who had suffered from this common disease.

Tom, who is 18, and Amy who is 16 are both keen rowers and belong to Sudbury Rowing Club.  They had tickets to go to the World Rowing Championships which are being held in early September in Aigue Belette in the south of France and decided that, rather than fly, they would cycle! Two other friends, ex- Hedingham student Victoria Burgess from Pebmarsh and Kieran Dibley from Bury St Edmunds, were also keen to join the adventure so Tom got busy planning the route which, as he says, ‘Looks an absolutely ridiculous distance on the map – we are going from the top left of France to the bottom right!’  He planned a route that took in Paris, Orleans and Lyon and the group are reckoning to do 60 miles a day for 10 days staying in hostels or camping on the way – depending on weather, tiredness and smelliness!  As Amy says, ’This will be a once in a lifetime experience and a real adventure! My mum was really scared about it at first and thought we were joking but our parents feel better about it now they can see the organisation we have put in.’

Tom says all 4 young people are pretty fit because they row regularly but they are cycling around the country lanes of Essex and Suffolk at the moment doing 40 mile rides to build up their stamina.  They plan to start training with paniers soon so they can get used to bike handling when travelling with tents, sleeping bags, minimal clothing but lots of food!  Breast Cancer Care has supplied bright pink cycling jerseys with the charity logo on for the quartet to wear on their travels so they will definitely be noticeable.

The cyclists will leave on 25 August from Tunbridge Wells taking a national cycle path down to Newhaven before crossing the channel.  Their parents are planning to wave them off on their travels and then Mr and Mrs Bowles plan to meet them at the end of their trip in the South of France.  The students will then take the Eurostar home which will be much more relaxing than their journey down!  Then Tom will hopefully be taking up a place at the University of Bath to study Sport and Exercise Science and Amy will begin her A level studies in maths, German, PE and Biology.  Kieran also hopes to go to university to study Aeronautical Engineering and Victoria is currently undertaking an Art and Design course at Colchester Institute.

The students hope to raise a minimum of £600 for Breast Cancer Care, which would be a pound for each mile of their trip.  Tom says, ‘A lot of funding is put into cancer research, but our chosen charity helps to care for people who have been diagnosed with breast cancer and also supports their families which we think is really important.’ Anyone who would like to sponsor Tom, Amy, Victoria and Kieran in their endeavours to raise money for Breast Cancer care can go on to their justgiving page –https://www.justgiving.com/southoffrancecycle.