It’s tempting to sit back when you think a job is complete, and sink into a well of happy memories and nostalgia. Having recently updated myself on the current situation in Syria, what was bad news 8 weeks ago when I arrived in NZ, is now simply appalling. One million displaced people, living in tent cities across borders, thousands of orphaned children, and more than 60,000 fatalities…..in a civil conflict that the rest of the world watches from the touchline.
The message has to get out. People have asked me lots of searching questions in the Antipodes. Awareness of the Syrian civil war needs to be spread further.
My job may appear to be complete (from the cycling point of view), but the real work is only just starting.
Back in the UK, I will be offering to visit groups and associations with an illustrated presentation of my 2,500 mile venture. I will make no personal charge for the talk, but will happily receive a donation for the Children in Syria Appeal. I sincerely want funds to continue flowing into this cause. We can’t stand by and hope that a solution will magically appear on the horizon. Our ‘grain of sand’, however small, will be of immeasurable importance.
If you know of any group that would welcome me as a visiting speaker, please get the message out by word of mouth, email, or sharing on Facebook or Twitter.
Thank you in advance.
And do give them the link to this blog, so they can get a flavour of what it’s all about.
Riding a bicycle and surviving the perils of a brutal civil war are two very different experiences. The first I have chosen to do when I cycle the End-to-End of New Zealand in January and February of 2013. The second is an experience that can’t be avoided by thousands of people fleeing the disastrous situation in Syria. My experience will be the result of freedom of choice. The suffering of the Children in Syria is the result of an ideological conflict that they cannot control.
I feel privileged to be able to make my choices. I also feel privileged to
live in a society that has such powerful humanitarian movements like Save the Children, who facilitate care for so many millions of children around the world who do not enjoy the benefits of a peaceful environment, where their basic needs of health, love, education and nutrition are met.
After a little more than a week of fundraising for the Children in Syria, we have managed to raise £777, which represents 25% of the targeted £3000 we want to raise as a final total. I am greatly encouraged by this response. Many people are taking the cause of Syrian children to heart, and I want to thank them for their generosity.
If you would like to make a donation, you can do so securely via my Justgiving page.
Whenever I finish one biking expedition, I am frequently asked soon afterwards: “So, where’s the next one to?” Coyly, I try to avoid giving a direct reply until, that is, a solid foundation is laid for the next one.
Well that foundation is now laid, and set in stone. Plane tickets have been purchased which will take me (via Singapore) to Auckland in New Zealand in mid January. This is going to be my most challenging ride to date; not so much for the distance (which is 1500 miles), as for the nature of the terrain, the challenges that both wind and rain can throw at me, and the relatively long stretches of remote country that I will be traversing, especially on South Island.
The End-to-End of New Zealand does not enjoy the same iconic status of the Land’s End-John O’Groats route here in the UK, but it does betray an equally ‘gritty character’ and a ‘Jekyll & Hyde personality’: one minute all smiling and loving, the next minute glowering and threatening. New Zealand normally enjoys a temperate, benign climate similar to that of the UK, but unannounced Pacific weather fronts can appear (even in summer) that can dog your progress and drive you indoors, sometimes for days at a time.
My starting point will be Cape Reinga, the north-westernmost tip of North Island, and I will finish 1500 miles/2400 kms later at Bluff, the southernmost point of South Island. The journey will take me from the subtropical north in the middle of summer to the point nearest the Antarctic, before ( I hope) the weather turns autumnal.
The Children of Syria
The problems of Syria are never far from our television screens. Innocent people are being killed, injured and displaced every day, and thousands have fled across the borders to escape the carnage. My focus is to support the refugee children, whose lives have been torn apart by the conflict, and many have lost one or both parents in the Civil War.
Please support these children generously and, if you are a taxpayer, please gift aid your donation so that Save the Children can increase the value of your giving by 25%.
All the expenses of this 1500 mile expedition will be mine. Every penny of your donation will go to support the Children of Syria.
You can donate in two simple ways:
1. by clicking on my Just Giving webpage
2. or by texting from your mobile to 70070, quoting the following code: FJRB49, then stating the amount (eg. £20). This is a free service offered by Vodafone, so you won’t be charged for the text, and the amount donated will be debited to your phone bill. All very simple!
If you can support this very worthy cause, a huge ‘thank you’ on behalf of Save the Children.