Farlington teacher pedalling home for Nalango

October 12, 2016

Farlington’s Head of Geography John Dwyer cycled from the Pyrenees to Sussex this year with 40 other cyclists to raise money for the One Mile Closer Charity. So far, he has raised over £900 from this venture.

The charity, which was founded by the friends and families of Rob Gauntlett and James Atkinson, raises money for the Nalango Secondary School in Uganda.

John Dwyer said: “All of the money raised from this challenge – in excess of £20,000 – will go to Nalango School in Uganda. It will be spent on a dorm room for students, four teachers’ houses, forty bunk beds, ten laptops, sports and music equipment and textbooks. We hope to make the world of difference to the lives of the students there.

“We rode the 1000 miles in memory of our friends Rob Gauntlett and James Atkinson, who both died in a climbing accident in the Alps in 2009, aged just 21. They both went to Christ’s Hospital School and Rob was the youngest Brit to climb Everest, aged just 19. We also rode to remember Vaughan Holme and Jack Hutton-Potts, who also sadly passed away whilst climbing in Wales in 2013.”

Nalango School in Uganda was built in Rob Gauntlett’s memory.  Its inspirational Headteacher, Paul Kasadha, began by teaching students from beneath a mango tree, but now has more than 600 pupils and has transformed many lives. In a recent visit to Farlington, Paul explained that each class has 80 students (the students sit on long benches), that some students walk for miles to get to school and that some students often only have one meal per day and this is provided by the school.

John flew to Barcelona, where he joined a team of 40 riders and then pedalled for two weeks over the Pyrenees back to West Sussex.  A typical day ran as follows, explained John: “Up at 6.30 am for a bowl of muesli, some croissants and a cuppa. Tents down and van loaded by 8.30 am. 40 riders raring to go in three groups – the so-called Cheetahs, Rhinos and Slugs! I joined the Cheetahs and true to form they didn’t hang about on the bikes. There are some incredibly strong riders in the One Mile Closer team. We covered the 72 miles today in six hours, including the now customary boulangerie stop and a smashing lunch sitting in the shade outside a French bistro. We then pitched everyone’s tents and had a bit of a rest in the afternoon.”

The 1000-mile route followed some of the steep cols of the Tour de France, before passing through Perigeux, Poitiers and Brittany. The home leg took the group from Portsmouth to Petworth in West Sussex.

John said: “It was an amazing experience undertaking this worthwhile ride for the Nalango School. I know the money raised will make a real difference to the children’s education in Uganda. I want to thank everyone who has supported me and the rest of the tea, and for the donations we have received. If anyone else would like to contribute, please visit http://pedalhomefromthepyrenees.weebly.com/donate.html.”