18 Mar 2016

Awesome cycle challenge across South Africa

A team of amateur bike riders in South Aftrica

A team of amateur bike riders hoping to raise £150,000 for vulnerable young people, have cycled their way to a whopping £184,000.

Starting in late February, thirteen plucky pedal pushers set off from Port Elizabeth on the coastline of the Indian Ocean with the aim of finishing at the Atlantic coast of Cape Town eight days later.

Their epic adventure was in aid of The Message Trust, a Christian charity based in Manchester that work with some of the UK’s most vulnerable young people.

Cycling for the cause

Andy Hawthorne, Founder and CEO of The Message Trust was the team captain leading the cyclists which included directors from across the charity as well as several major business supporters.

The goal was to raise funds and awareness for the growing work of The Message Trust who visit prisons and schools offering spiritual and emotional support, employment and housing to vulnerable and disadvantaged individuals.

They did it!

The team rode 850km across South Africa, tackling steep hills, force eight gales, temperatures of up to 37 degrees and arduous mountain passes. But they also took in stunning scenery, remote savannahs and breath-taking coastlines.

“The task was incredibly tough going but the team spirit and the thought of all the young people who would benefit from the money raised kept morale high,” says Andy.

Exhausted but exhilarated, they were treated to a hero’s welcome on crossing the finishing line.

On the last day, they rode into the Nyanga township, where The Message Trust has recently launched a project to tackle the culture of gangsterism and high crime rates. Here they were greeted by “the most amazing” traditional African dancing and shouts and cheers from the large crowds waiting for them.

Changing lives for the better

“I founded this charity 25 years ago with just one employee and pennies to our name, so to personally take part in this mammoth fundraiser and see £184,000 come in through so many generous donations is humbling and completely overwhelming to say the least,” says Andy.

“Other fundraising platforms take a cut, and BT MyDonate doesn’t, which makes a world of difference.

We saved around £9,000 in commission fees which is enough to employ a youth worker to work in UK prisons and tough communities for several months. During this time that would positively and drastically affect the lives of literally thousands of young people.”

Thank you

Andy has a message of thanks to everyone who has donated.

“We are thrilled by the commitment of our supporters. We have smashed our target already and it keeps going up. Let’s do it all again next year!”

You can give to the ‘Cross South Africa Cycle Challenge’ with MyDonate

Find out more about The Message Trust

See the team in action on YouTube and check out their Facebook page for more footage and photos.

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