A Christmas Gift with Meaning

Looking for Christmas gifts that will be remembered?   Look no further!

Who wouldn’t love to have a goat, or a donkey – perhaps a tree or even a whole school?

This Christmas give a gift in Darfur, and we will create a personalised specially designed Christmas Gift Certificate  – and send it for you!  You can even order up to Christmas Eve and we will do the rest!

Why not buy a gift with meaning by donating towards our sustainable projects on behalf of a loved one? There are lots of things to choose from, and all of them will change the life of a child in Darfur forever – a beacon of hope during dark times.

Life in Darfur is getting more desperate by the day.  Families are struggling to feed their children. A Christmas Gift for a child in Darfur really shows they are not forgotten.  The people of Darfur need our help now more than ever.

By choosing to donate in the name of someone you love,  you will know that your gift will give the people of Darfur a brighter 2021.

We will send your personalised Christmas Gift Certificate either to you or directly to your loved one, whichever you prefer, just let us know when checking out.  

If you are posting your order to us please do enclose a Stamped Addressed Envelope, or, if possible, please add something for the postage if you are ordering online.    We are or course happy to email anywhere in the world.

Our postal address: Kids for Kids, P O BOX 456 Dorking, Surrey, RH4 2WS United Kingdom

 

Order a Gift Certificate

Donate Another ItemMosquito Nets?  A Set of Farm Tools?   A Clean Water Handpump?   Anything can be donated on behalf of a loved one!

Or why not give all your loved ones Tickets to our 100 Club Lottery – and a year long chance to win up to £500 each month?!

 

Come work with us – Job opening!

CEO’s Executive Personal Assistant/Fundraiser

If you believe in sustainable development and wish to make a lasting difference to children’s lives, please join our small team at Kids for Kids.

We are currently seeking an Executive Personal Assistant/Fundraiser, which is a key role, enabling us to help even more children, showing that sustainable development is possible. You will be determined to make a long term difference in the world and will be helping us to transform the lives of 550,000 Darfur villagers.  The administrative team is small; so your position is hugely important.

We are based in Dorking, Surrey, but you will be working mostly in your own home allowing flexibility for your own life.  We would stress, this is a challenging, and immensely rewarding role requiring someone who is hardworking, efficient and accurate and good at managing their own time.   You will interact with our donors, Patrons and celebrities as the public face of Kids for Kids.

Duties & Responsibilities:
– working closely with the Chairman/CEO to reduce her workload. You will need initiative and imagination to help lead the charity into the next decade.
– you will look after supporters, and our many volunteers, from thanking them for their donations, to keeping them up to date with the latest news from Darfur

– you will be in charge of the office, including maintaining office supplies and our important databases and spreadsheets along with general office duties

–  you will be able to update the website, help organise events, run our social media campaigns and liaise with journalists

– you will excel at writing reports and news leaflets
– you will also manage our biannual mailings and emailing campaigns

– you will be good at detail, as it is essential to maintain our records accurately

Candidate Requirements:

– Experienced, self-motivated, enthusiastic and dedicated, with initiative and the ability to work as part of the small administrative team, but essentially with the ability to work independently in your own home

– Reliable and responsible, and good at detail
– Able to use spreadsheets and formulas from the Access database, pull off queries, remove duplications etc
– Able to coordinate with volunteers, supporters and professionals
– Calm and confident individual, with first-class people skills and excellent organisational and IT skills
– Ability to work on your own, and under pressure

You must have a laptop (not Mac) and Windows 10, MS Office including Access, Publisher, plus a good colour printer and fast broadband.

You will be self-employed as the hours will vary, but which are likely to be a minimum of 25 hours per week. It is important that you live within easy driving distance from Dorking so that you can visit the office once/twice a week, but you will be happy to work in your own home. We also use Zoom for online meetings.

If you are interested in becoming part of our small team please head over to Charity Job to apply:

https://www.charityjob.co.uk/jobs/kids-for-kids/ceo-s-executive-personal-assistant-fundraiser/714670

A Christmas Invitation

 

Magical Candlelit Christmas Concert 2020

We are delighted to invite you to join us at this year’s Candlelit Christmas ConcertWednesday 2nd December 2020!   Given recent events, we have decided to host a virtual concert this year via Zoom and Facebook Live. The magical atmosphere will be brought directly into your living rooms, as we ask our supporters to light their own candle to remember the children of Darfur at this time of year. There will of course still be the festive Christmas carols brought to you by the talented choir of Queens Gate School, celebrity readings, beautiful music and much more! Join us via Zoom or Facebook at 7 p.m. on 2nd December.  Online family ticket –  minimum donation £10.  Please check our website www.kidsforkids.org.uk or email us at contact@kidsforkids.org.uk for tickets, we are determined to celebrate this joyous time of year and to raise much-needed funds for the people of Darfur.  

A Christmas Gift with Meaning
Give a gift this Christmas that will last long after the Christmas holidays have ended! We have gifts for every budget. From Kindergarten books £20, 100 animal vaccinations £100, a donkey for a family in need £150, or even a water pump £6,500! You can also Donate for the Greatest Need. Every one of these gifts is a vital life line to people in Darfur. We will send a personalised Christmas Gift Certificate to you or to your chosen friend or family member (via email or post).
Visit: www.kidsforkids.org/shop

Giving Tuesday – 1st December
If you plan to donate to Kids for Kids this Christmas perhaps wait to do it on 1st December when Global Giving will give extra money to organisations that raise the most on that day only? The more money you donate, the more money they will give us on top! So help us to raise as much money as possible – the children of Darfur need your help now more than ever. Visit: www.globalgiving.org/donate/3016/kids-for-kids/ Please don’t forget!

Christmas Coffee Morning
Are you missing your family and friends? On a chilly winter’s day why not catch up for a coffee and mince pie via video call using Skype, Facetime or Zoom? You may have seen our recent Covid-19 appeal, where we are asking for donations to help Kids for Kids purchase soap for families in Darfur? The virus has reached the villages, and we need help to keep it at bay. £20 provides 5 bars of soap to 10 families – that’s just £5 each for you and 3 friends. Have fun and help a family! You can send in your donation here or text:

Text CHRISTMASCOFFEE 5 to 70085 to donate £5 Texts cost £5 plus one standard rate message and you’ll be opting in to hear more about our work and fundraising via telephone and SMS. If you’d like to give £5 but do not wish to receive marketing communications, text CHRISTMASCOFFEENOINFO 5 to 70085

Bucket List Fundraising
Always wanted to run a marathon? Tackle Ben Nevis or even the Three Peaks? Walk a mile for charity? Cycle to Land’s End or do a family bike ride? Why not scratch something off your bucket list this Christmas and head out and get sponsored for Kids for Kids! Don a Santa hat or some Sleigh Bells and get inspired this holiday season! We’ll help.
Email: anna@kidsforkids.org.uk

Free Money for Charity!
Whilst shopping online for gifts for your loved ones this Christmas, why not raise some free money for Kids for Kids? Using Amazon Smile, Easy Fundraising, Give as You Live or The Giving Machine when you are searching online allows you to raise free donations on all your purchases. It’s free, and easy to sign up. Remember to choose Kids for Kids.
www.easyfundraising.org.uk www.smile.amazon.co.uk
www.giveasyoulive.com www.thegivingmachine.co.uk

Donate eBay proceeds to Kids for Kids
If you are planning on selling items on eBay this Christmas you can donate all, or just a percentage of the money, to Kids for Kids. By doing this you also reduce your seller’s fee too!
Visit: www.charity.ebay.co.uk/charity/Kids-for-Kids/3178320

Sending Christmas Cards this year?
The generous people at Mountbatten Cards donate 25% of the net proceeds from their cards to Kids for Kids. If you are planning to send Christmas cards this year, please buy from Mountbatten Cards and tick Kids for Kids!
Visit www.mountbattencards.com for more information.

Don’t Send a Card this Christmas!
If posting cards is not your thing at Christmas but still want to send Christmas greetings, do use Don’t Send Me A Card where you can reduce your carbon footprint and send Christmas cards electronically with the click of a button – 95% of your order will go to Kids for Kids. Visit www.dontsendmeacard.com

 

Interview with Our New Patron – Miriam Margolyes OBE!

We are thrilled to welcome our newest Patron, Miriam Margolyes OBE! Many of you will know Miriam from her magical Readings at our annual Candlelit Concerts. Behind the scenes she has been doing all she can to provide support for our sustainable work helping children in Darfur, Sudan, especially now with our desperate and urgent appeal for soap as the only hope families have against COVID-19.   Miriam attended our Candlelit Christmas Concert in both 2017 and 2019 as a Guest Reader and has supported our Ambassadors’ Ball Auction for three years straight. Both events are major fundraising initiatives held annually by Kids for Kids, each raising over £20,000 a year.  “I was really touched at Miriam’s response when I invited her formally to become our Patron” said Patricia Parker, our Founder.  “She said she was honoured – and when you think that we are helping children living out of sight, of sadly no interest to the world in general – simple families struggling to bring up their little ones – it is us who are honoured to have someone of Miriam’s stature supporting us.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if one day those children could see ‘Harry Potter’ and recognise too her magic!”

Miriam has been instrumental in helping us raise the funds to adopt new villages for the past few years and we are so pleased to make her Patronage official!

Here is a wonderful interview with Miriam Margolyes on page 12 in Belgravia Magazine, in which Miriam explains her love for Kids for Kids.

You can read more about Miriam Margolyes OBE in Victoria Magazine, a piece written by Jonathan Whiley in advance of the 2017 Christmas Concert.

Photo Credit: Title photograph by Jennifer Robertson – Kyte Photography.  Both other photographs by Michael Blyth Photography.

2019 GlobalGiving Superstars!

We are pleased to announce that Kids for Kids is a Superstar Organisation going into 2020!

All your kind donations to our projects on GlobalGiving have led to the most magnificent results: a total of $85,056 (roughly £64,845) raised on the platform in 2019!  This amount is a combination of your support giving goats, donkeys, trees, water, and more and $24,618 in Bonus Prizes and Matching Funds generated by the GlobalGiving team throughout the campaigns you all participated in. What a huge amount of essentially free donations that you helped us get!  ….And you know what else?   This total amount raised in 2019 is almost $20,000 more than what we raised on GlobalGiving in 2018  It can’t be said enough – you all are really the Superstars here!

Kids for Kids is proud to be recognised by GlobalGiving with the following badges for 2020:

A huge highlight for Kids for Kids last year was Giving Tuesday on December 5th, where 105 people donated a massive $18,500 in one day alone!  Not only is that huge, but we also received $5,398 from GlobalGiving in matching funds and $5,000 from an anonymous donor who matched donations up to that amount at 100%!  That meant a total of $28,898 (just over £22,000) raised in ONE DAY on GlobalGiving! Can you believe it?! It was the best Giving Tuesday Kids for Kids has ever seen and we are so eager to do even better in 2020.

We must also thank our fantastic regular donors, who have committed to support Kids for Kids by giving a fixed amount of their choosing every month through GlobalGiving.  Regular donations are the lifeblood of Kids for Kids as they provide an amount that we know we can count on, and therefore allows us to plan ahead for our projects. In 2020 GlobalGiving will be matching new monthly donations at 100%, after they have been active for 4 months. This means if you commit to giving $50 every month, after 4 months you will have given Kids for Kids $250 – with the last $50 being an added bonus from GlobalGiving! Any amount you can spare each month would be greatly appreciated in 2020 as we support our eight newly adopted villages in Darfur, as well as focus on our 5 Year Tree Planting Project. Set up your monthly donation here! 

We are so thankful to you all for continuing to support our work through everyday donations as well as participating in the GlobalGiving Bonus Days and Week-long Campaigns. In 2020 there are Four Campaigns that we are eager to take part in, which are listed below for your convenience.  As you can see from the above information these dates are hugely worthwhile!  Thank you.

Campaign Dates for your Diary:

  • March 23-27: Little by Little Campaign (Donations of up to $50 per donor are matched at 50%)
  • September 14-18: Little by Little Campaign
  • December 1st: Giving Tuesday (More info to come)

To visit our Projects on GlobalGiving, please click here.  Please follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more information and updates about the above campaigns nearer the time.

Kids for Kids Founder invited to 11 Downing Street for The Times / Sternberg Active Life Award Ceremony

“For some people turning 70 represents time to slow down, scale back on their activities and start putting themselves first. Other exceptional people, however, do the opposite and continue with or even step up their involvement in the communities or causes that matter to them.”

Patricia Parker MBE, 71-year-old CEO and Founder of Kids for Kids, had the honour of being named Runner Up in The Times/Sternberg Active Life Award, recognising the achievements of those over the age of 70.  Patricia and colleagues were welcomed by The Sir Sigmund Sternberg Charitable Foundation together with The Times Newspaper to 11 Downing Street, by kind permission of the Rt. Hon. The Chancellor of the Exchequer. Winner of this year’s Award was Denis Rutovitz (90), who started Edinburgh Direct Aid in 1992 and has made many trips providing urgently needed aid all over the world – from Kosovo during the Croatian War of Independence to Kenya to help AIDS orphans to Sri Lanka post Tsunami.

Patricia said, “I am hugely honoured to be named Runner Up to such an outstanding man. It was such a pleasure to meet him and learn what he continues to achieve. I am also thrilled for Kids for Kids. Being recognised by such a prestigious Award will I hope raise the profile of the forgotten children of Darfur who live in such deprived conditions. For this to happen now, when Sudan is in turmoil, is perfect timing. Whoever ends up running Sudan has enormous challenges to face, and because Darfur is so far from the capital it has always been the last to receive help of any kind. This recognition will help spread the news of the life-saving sustainable projects we provide to remote communities, transforming the lives of children long term.” Patricia has donated her £1,000 Award to provide more help to children in Darfur.

The presentation ceremony at Downing Street on Tuesday 21st May heard from Baroness Altmann about distinguished earlier recipients of the Award, as well as from Michael Sternberg from the Sternberg Foundation who reminded us of the many people across history whose greatest achievements have been when others might have stepped back into retirement. Mr Rutovitz gave a moving speech about the importance of getting more older people involved in helping those around the world in great need. After returning to Edinburgh after his first visit to Bosnia, Denis realised that there were many people willing and eager to help by fundraising and donating, and that not only was he going to continue helping those in need, his work would be helping those looking for a way to help. Patricia too found that it was not only children in Darfur whose lives Kids for Kids is changing. “It is a privilege to speak to children here. They are excited and empowered by finding that raising even a little money themselves makes a real impact on children their own age living such different lives. It gives them hope and helps them realise that you are never too young – or too old – to make a difference!” said Patricia.

The Times/ Sternberg Active Life Award was set up in 2008 by Sir Sigmund Sternberg, a British- Hungarian businessman, inter-faith campaigner and philanthropist, in conjunction with The Times. He died in 2016. This year’s judging panel included Sir John Ritblat and Sir Tom Farmer, the businessmen, and Craig Tregurtha, group managing editor of The Times and The Sunday Times.

For More Information or to use any Photographs please contact Sage Lancaster: sage@kidsforkids.org.uk, 07528 194495

Please Note: All official photos taken by Richard Pohle, The Times Photographer. Photos from Darfur taken by Alastair King-Smith

Timothy West CBE becomes A Patron – at last!

We are delighted to announce that Timothy West CBE has agreed to become a Patron. In fact, he has supported us over so many years, not least at our Candlelit Christmas Concert where he said he “already felt he was one of the family”.  Timothy has always had a passion for looking after children who would otherwise suffer through drought, starvation or warfare. He recognises and supports all of the lifesaving work that Kids for Kids is doing in Darfur.  We are honoured to have him as a Kids for Kids Patron. It’s official!

Timothy will be  joining us at our magical Kids for Kids Candlelit Christmas Concert next Thursday 29th November at St Peter’s Eaton Square London SW1W 9AL. For tickets and more information please read about our Candlelit Christmas Concert here!

 

 

Planning a children’s party?

We know how time consuming it can be to plan your children’s parties each year – and so does Little Sharers!   New gifting and party planning service Little Sharers is aiming to change the way we look at gifts for kids’ parties. Founder (and mum to two daughters) Alexandra is no stranger to the world of birthday parties, and saw a way to cut down the party to-do list for both planners and guests, cut down on excess and duplicate gifts, and support charities close to our hearts at the same time. Kids for Kids is delighted to be a Little Sharers Charity and we are thrilled that children in the UK are celebrating their birthday’s and helping children their same age in Darfur in the process.

Here are 3 Key Reasons to Give your Kid’s Party a Charitable Twist:

1. Everyone saves time

Busy parents receive the invitation in their inboxes, and can RSVP and take care of the gift at the same time, there and then, from their smartphone. Magic!

2. Everyone cuts down on waste

Rather than a table groaning with hastily-bought gifts, the half of the party fund that goes to the organiser can be put towards something the child will love. Not only is this a fantastic reward for their charitable giving, but it means each guest has contributed to a truly loved gift, rather than a pile of presents which run the danger of possibly never seeing the light of day once unwrapped on party day.

3. Kids are empowered to affect change

Introducing kids to the work of charitable organisations at an early age is a fantastic way to encourage their engagement with issues they care about. They will be confident in their ability to make a difference to a charity, and will understand the importance of their contribution, no matter how small.

No child is too young to make a real difference in the world, and Little Sharers introduces your young ones to this in a magical way. It is such a fantastic idea to throw a party for a child here and have it help children in Darfur who have not only never had a party of their own, but have never even had a toy to play with. So visit the Little Sharers website, talk to your child about the importance of throwing a party for Kids for Kids, and start planning the best birthday part ever!  https://www.littlesharers.com/

Fishing for Goats brings in big reward!

Saturday the 13th of October marked our annual Fly Fishing Event: Fishing for Goats! – and what an extraordinary day it was. We were blessed with summer conditions, still waters, blue skies, and absolutely beautiful for October. Although this did not make the fishing very easy, everyone had a fantastic time and have said they want to come again next year!   Early warning for next year’s fishing date –  Saturday 12th October 2019!

Despite not receiving any sponsorship this year, our guests enjoyed themselves so much that many donated even more than the ticket price, leading us to raise the most funds ever for our fishing day – a fantastic £1,988.51!  This amount has enabled us to provide 30 more Urgent Need Packages of sorghum flour and seed, plus 12 goats of course, to families still at risk of starvation in Darfur. This has been one of the worst year’s to date and we are so grateful to our wonderful supporters for helping us to provide emergency help to people suffering the famine. We are not an emergency organisation, but when no one else is helping families in rural Darfur villages we have had no choice – we cannot let people or animals starve.

So grateful to our wonderful fishing instructors, the Surrey Committee for organising the event, and chefs that provided all our fishermen with delicious breakfast, lunch, and kept them supplied with tea and coffee throughout the day.  Thank you so much to all who joined us! Please spread the word about our annual Fly Fishing event, and make sure you get some friends on board to join you next October.

Rotary Club Donates £1,000 For Jerry Cans!

Earlier this year, Patricia Parker MBE, Kids for Kids Founder and CEO visited the Rotary Club of Cuckfield and Lindfield and gave a presentation about the life saving work that Kids for Kids does.  Patricia was delighted to be visited recently by Club President, Alec Landauer, and Sue McMillan from the International Committee, at her home in Dorking and presented with a cheque for £1,000 to be spent on Jerry Cans!  “What a wonderful surprise this was!” said Patricia, “Families are in desperate need of jerry cans right now for the first time ever so this is the perfect donation.”

2018 is the first year we have ever known that families have been sharing the use of a jerry can to fetch water. Women like Halima from Um Jum Jum, a village we adopted this year, has been sharing her neighbour’s jerry can because hers had cracked some time ago. Sharing a jerry can also means sharing the precious water you have walked miles across the desert to collect – the only water your family will have that day.  How could you part with it?

The wonderful donation from the Rotary Club of Cuckfield and Lindfield is enough to buy 130 jerry cans, meaning one for almost all of our new beneficiary families in our five 2018 villages!  We are thrilled.  If you too would like to donate a jerry can, please do not hesitate to do so – every jerry can donated will be put to use, allowing families to collect more water daily.  Donate a jerry can now.

2019: Gifts for any Celebration!

It is a new year and Birthdays, Anniversaries, and Holiday Celebrations are headed your way!  Every year Kids for Kids helps our supporters give the best gifts to celebrate their special occasions – gifts that create a lasting impact.

Over Christmas many of you so wonderfully donated a goat to a child in Darfur on behalf of a loved one!  In return, Kids for Kids sent you a Gift Certificate in commemoration. The goat you donated will help a family in Darfur, giving the children milk to drink and their mother a way to earn an income. Can you imagine a gift more special than this?

All year round we can make you special personalised Gift Certificates to celebrate the milestone events in the lives of your friends and family members. Maybe your Mum is turning 70 this year?   Donate some goats in her name, helping malnourished children in Darfur!  Looking for the perfect Easter Gift?  Why Chickens of course!  Is your best friend about to have a new baby?  Donate mosquito nets and blankets to keep all the children in Darfur warm and safe at night!   Maybe your son is turning Five Years Old this year ? Why not make a donation of £50 in his name – enough to purchase uniforms and shoes for five children in Darfur?!  If you donate a Handpump for clean water, a Kindergarten, or a whole village we can even name these after the gift’s recipient, creating a lasting memorial.  No one is too young to learn the value of helping others. No one is too young to make a real difference.

Give a Goat Now to transform children’s health and empower women in a region that is in desperate need of help.  Goat’s milk is precious – it is full of protein, minerals and vitamins that mothers cannot afford to give their children in any other way.  Children make great shepherds in Darfur and love their goats.

Let’s see if we can make their dreams come true this year!

We can make you a personalised gift certificate for any donation you make. Visit our shop and choose the items you would like to donate!  When you checkout simply write the details you would like included on your certificate(s) in the ‘Order Notes’ section!  We send your gift to Darfur and a Gift Certificate to your loved one. Do not hesitate to get in touch directly by emailing contact@kidsforkids.org.uk

Recent news from Kids for Kids is available in our Christmas Mailing here:

Christmas Letter

How Goats are Empowering Women in Darfur

Kids for Kids Christmas Gift List

Terry rises to a Challenge in one of the most difficult years in Darfur

Last month, Terry Neale cycled the 53 miles from London to Brighton to raise funds for Kids for Kids.  That was challenge enough but on top of that he raised a staggering £2,149 – fantastic!  Patricia Parker MBE, CEO and Founder of Kids for Kids said, “It is such a delight to have Terry supporting our work.  This time he has gone above and beyond!  There is so much preparation that goes into a challenge like this, plus the fundraising, and to raise so much is just brilliant and so important now when children are so hungry. What he has raised means we can provide 47 families with an Urgent Need Package of flour and seed that will not only feed them now until the harvest but they will have seed to plant for next year too.   So grateful!”

Sponsored events make up a large amount of the total funds that come in, and are incredibly important to our work because every single penny goes directly to helping children in Darfur.  Are you interested in taking on a challenge? Is there something you’ve wanted to do but haven’t had the opportunity or courage yet?! Check out our Challenge Ideas  or get in touch if you have an idea of your own! We are happy to support you and publicise your fundraising work in any way we can.

Below, Terry shares with us his experience taking on this fantastic cycling challenge.  It is sure to inspire!

“In an impulsive moment in May this year, I decided I would do the London to Brighton bike ride to raise money for Kids for Kids. At least I was not so impulsive to rush into it.  I needed time to prepare, so opted for the September ride instead of the bigger one in June. Luckily for me, the weather for my ride was perfect. Cloudy but mild without any rain and very little wind – just a bit of a headwind on the the last part. The June one was in the middle of a heatwave – phew! A lucky escape.

I had no formal training plan or schedule to prepare for the ride although there is an elaborate scheme on the organiser’s website. It looked fine if you were some sort of highly organised fanatic but I decided to just do what I could. This involved a lot riding on the exercise bike at home much to the bemusement of my wife as the times got longer and longer. At least it is possible to listen to music or read on an exercise bike but a bit hazardous on the road.

I joined a local cycling club and went out with them a couple of times before the ride. It became clear on the first ride that the old mountain-bike I had been lent was not exactly ideal. It was very heavy and had to go. I managed to get a used bike from a local cycle shop which was made of carbon fibre and hence very light – which came in very handy not only for the ride but also at the end – as you will see.

The day before the ride, I discovered that my plan to take the bike on the train from my home in Brighton to Clapham Junction and then cycle to the start on Clapham Common (an extra two miles – aaargh!) was not going to be possible. The train companies decided to ban all bikes on trains out of all stations near Brighton up as far as Gatwick on the day of the ride! Wife to the rescue and Susie was kind enough to get up early on a Sunday morning and take me, and the bike, to Redhill for a train at 7.07.

I arrived at the start at about 08.00 with some trepidation. Would I be able to keep going to the end? How fast should I ride? If I went too fast initially, I might run out of steam later. Would there be so many riders that accidents were going to happen? Jockeying for position was not something I had trained for. There certainly seemed to be plenty of riders getting ready to set off. We had been told there was no starting order and, as long as we got going between 06.30 (yes, really) and 09.00, that was all that mattered.

We were released in small groups due to the car traffic still flowing around the common and I ended up with a bunch of riders wearing the same shirts – except me, of course. As we wound our way out of London, we got more and more strung out – and not just on the road. After 10 miles, there was a welcome water stop where those who had not had anything for breakfast could get a snack and hot drink. As I had eaten an enormous breakfast and couldn’t even contemplate eating any more, I had a quick breather, and some water, and I was on my way.

I soon saw my first accident – a young woman had not seen a rather indistinct curb and come off her bike. She appeared to have landed quite heavily on her knees. There were plenty of people around her to help so I pressed on.

Another water stop was available after 17 miles and I have no recollection of it at all – must have been concentrating!

A few miles further and there was another accident – a man had come down a steep descent and skidded on the gravel scattered on the road as it turned to go through a railway bridge. I think he must have hit the wall. Again, he had support around him so I carried on with a vivid image of his gravel-embedded grazes in my mind. A timely reminder to watch out for changes in the road surface which generally seemed to have been set up by the Highways Department as a challenge. What is a slight bump in your car is a real hazard on a bike.

After 30 miles, the lunch stop appeared at last! Even though it was still before 11.00, everyone was hungry! I would have got going again sooner but couldn’t resist the choice of puddings (how unlike me, I hear you say!) and joined a lengthy queue. Suitably stuffed, I set off again. Only 24 miles to go – including the dreaded Ditchling Beacon, a mile-long grind up a steep gradient, just on the outskirts of Brighton and after 44 miles of riding.

I had twice ridden out of Brighton up the hill to the top of Ditchling Beacon, down the other side and then attacked the ascent as a practice for the ride – part of my detailed training regime. I made it up on both occasions but that was not after riding 44 miles. I was far from certain I could do it without getting off and walking. The road started to ascend and I heard a young woman call out to her friend “Is this it?” I cheerfully called out “Yes, but it gets steeper!”. Didn’t seem to go down well. The further up I went, fewer and fewer riders were still on their bikes. It did seem to go on forever. Slowly (very slowly!), I crawled up to the top. What a feeling of achievement! I made it in one! A couple of bottles of water, a quick text to my family and huge crowd of supporters (3) to let them know when I was going to finish and I was off again. Nearly all downhill from here.

On the home straight along Marina Drive, a man came up alongside and, for no discernible reason, started to tell me his life story. He seemed very proud to have finished the ride at the ripe old age of 54. I felt it would be unkind to tell him I was 68 and accepted the fact that he must have thought I was younger than he was with grace.

A bit of a sprint towards the finish line and it was finally all over. My cheering family were just beyond the line and I thoughtfully pulled over to do my Lewis Hamilton impersonation and give them all a hug. Unfortunately, a lady on her bike was just behind me and didn’t seem to expect me to stop. She just managed to stop in time but didn’t seem impressed. Little could spoil my feeling of elation, however, and I quickly dismounted to go in search of some amber liquid refreshment. The end of a memorable day!”    Terry Neale

 

Please get in touch if you would like any help setting up your own fundraising challenge!