Friday, April 29, 2005

Gibraltar in 3,000 mile Challenge route


The Race for Africa Team
Three men were yesterday putting the finishing touches to their training ahead of a gruelling charity cycling challenge during which they aim to ride 3,000 miles in just 30 days.

The men are aiming to cycle from London to Africa and back in a single month to help raise more than £20,000 for Excellent Development, a charity which works to provide clean water sources in the developing world.

During the epic trek Richard Barnes, from Reading, and brothers Sam Towndrow, from South Shields, and Ben Towndrow, from Tynemouth, will ride through France, over the Pyrenees, across the Basque region of Spain and then on to Gibraltar where they will cross the Strait touching land in Morocco before immediately beginning the return leg.

The trio will set off on the Race for Africa challenge, which will see them riding 100-miles or more each day, at a ceremony at Kew Gardens in London on May 4.

Organisers hope the attempt will raise £20,000 for Excellent Development to enable the building of 20 small-scale dams which will provide a safe, clean water supply during the dry season for up to 25,000 people in Africa.

Women in semi-arid Africa walk up to six miles twice a day to collect water for their families. For an average village without a dam, that’s 3,000 miles of walking in just two days, whilst carrying 20kg of water on their backs.

“The actual ride will be extremely gruelling but the money we raise will make it all worthwhile," said Richard, the team leader.

“We just take water for granted here but 400 Kenyan women walk a total of 3,000 miles every day just to get enough water for their basic needs.

We feel privileged to be able to do something to help alleviate that for hundreds of families."

Executive officer of Excellent Development, Simon Maddrell, said:

“Half of Kenya’s population don’t have access to clean water.

We hope Richard, Ben and Sam’s tremendous endeavours will both raise awareness of this plight and raise money to provide relief for hundreds of families.

We are immensely proud of their generosity and bravery and wish them the best."

To follow the trio’s progress as they tackle the Race for Africa challenge visit the event website at www.RaceforAfrica.com

For more information about the work of Excellent Development visit the charity’s website at www.excellentdevelopment.com or to make a donation visit www.justgiving.com/water

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