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Norwich School Blog

The Great South Cycle

Over the May bank holiday weekend, four members of staff took on an ambitious cycle challenge to raise money for charity. Mr Gent, Mr Hooper, Mr Peters and Mr Manton cycled from York Minster to Norwich Cathedral to raise money for charity English Plus and the Nandana Werapitiya Foundation.

You are still able to support their cause by donating via JustGiving here!

In our latest blog, Mr Gent reflects on the experience:

"Sitting at my desk on Tuesday morning, the slight burning sensation in my thighs reminds me of our efforts over the last three days. As a relatively inexperienced long-distance cyclist it was with a feeling of nervousness and in trepidation that I loaded up my bike with my wonderful colleagues to head up to York, the starting point of our 205-mile Great South Cycle to Norwich. Trips like this afford a number of brilliant opportunities. One of them is having the time to be able to chat with colleagues who either one doesn’t know or doesn’t know well, to find out about their role in school, their families and their previous adventures. Another is the opportunity to visit and cycle through parts of England never visited before.

Teamwork, compassion and support quickly came into their own when I confessed on arrival at our first overnight stay, that I had accidentally left the key to the lock, which secured the bikes to the rack, in my pigeonhole at school. The initial responses of ‘are you joking?’ instantly led to peals of laughter and the problem was quickly solved with a pair of wire cutters.

At our starting point at York Minster, friends and ONs turned up to wave us off, bringing not only supplies of Jelly Babies, which later that day provided essential energy and motivation to get us to the end of the first 75 miles, but the warmth and friendship that underpins the Norwich School Community, and will hopefully always offer inspiration, comfort and support.

As we set off South through beautiful York and into South Yorkshire towards the Humber bridge the countryside was not too different from parts of Norfolk, but they were new roads never cycled. We met cyclists who joined our group for periods of time, our common interest underpinning instant camaraderie and interesting conversations from a cyclist who had taken part in many international races to a gentleman visiting his 102-year-old mother-in-law.

Always in the back of our mind were the two charities we were cycling to support: English Plus, which works to help new members of the Norwich Community, many of whom are asylum seekers or refugees who have little more than the clothes they wear and speak no, or limited English, and the Nandana Werapitiya Foundation which supports a village in Sri Lanka. The more I thought about them as we pedalled South, the more I realised that the ethos of the two charities was very similar to the values in our school community and what a great opportunity it was for us, living in a stable privileged community to support people who are very similar to us in so many ways, who have lost so much of what they hold dear to them.

As we rode South, messages flooded in through many social media channels showing support and lifting our spirits every mile of the way and arriving back at Norwich Cathedral a small group had gathered to cheer us in and welcome us home with hugs, smiles and cold beers.

We are incredibly fortunate to have such a supportive network of friends and colleagues around us and this was a wonderful opportunity for us to spread this beyond our usual bounds and offer support to many people, who we will probably never meet, but will benefit hugely from our 3-day adventure.

Thank you to my colleagues, Messrs Hooper, Peters and Manton for their support through the ups and downs of the journey, Katie Hardingham for very kindly taking time out of her Bank Holiday Weekend to post fantastic social media, and to Mr Bedford-Payne and Miss Lin for their unbounded enthusiasm, organisation and wonderful food and drink at every stop."