A 40-strong team of virtual cyclists from Sterling Network’s charity partner Leonard Cheshire has embarked on its most difficult challenge to date, a journey expected to take around two months.
The team are ‘Going for Gold’ – cycling the equivalent distance between the Leonard Cheshire care home ‘Gloucestershire House’ in Cheltenham to the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo. The team hope to complete the 5,961 mile challenge in time to cheer on disabled athletes competing in the Paralympic Games in August.
The original team, comprised of disabled residents from Leonard Cheshire’s care home ‘Gloucestershire House’ in Cheltenham, are no strangers to cycling challenges – throughout the pandemic they have cycled virtually from Land’s End to John O’Groats, the length of Route 66 and, most recently, the Great Wall of China. Previous challenges raised vital funds to sustain the inclusive cycling scheme ‘Wheels for All’ .
The Gloucestershire House team has welcomed support from 20 more members to help with the epic new challenge: students and staff from Cheltenham Ladies College and Cheltenham College, and staff and supporters from Leonard Cheshire. When the popular BBC Radio Gloucestershire presenter Jon Smith launched the challenge on 16th June – he was so enthusiastic about the idea that he was also persuaded to join the team!
The Going for Gold challenge has been scheduled to overlap with the ‘At Home Superheroes’ series event powered by Marvel which takes place mid-July to mid-August. Sarah Grout, regional fundraiser for Leonard Cheshire and Sterling member of our Regency, Cotswold Virtual, Malvern and Exeter groups said: “It is totally fitting that our team are taking on a Superheroes and Olympian challenge. It is a gargantuan international team effort and a feat of collaboration too! Our superheroes are fundraising to provide a much-needed replacement static therapy bike in Gloucestershire House. Current equipment had so much wear and tear throughout lockdown. The bikes have been essential physiotherapy tools, providing physical and mental health benefits throughout the pandemic.”
The virtual team are piloting a new platform ‘Wellgiving’ to track the activity, support participants in multiple locations and link to the fundraising progress. Sarah said: “This last year in fundraising has taught us to pivot and adapt to the circumstances, like so many other businesses. It just goes to show that with the right pioneering attitude and a good deal of positivity – we can make large team events happen. Many thanks to our partners at BBC Gloucestershire, Cheltenham Ladies College and Cheltenham College for Going for Gold with us and helping us to achieve possibility with disability”.
The ‘Going for Gold’ team welcome donations of any size via their JustGiving page at: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/goingforgoldwithleonardcheshire