pedal to Lalibela in Ethiopia

Wednesday November 4, 2020

In a first for the college, Concord has launched a unique whole-school fundraising challenge – hosting a virtual cycle to Lalibela Primary School in Ethiopia. The challenge – a route of 8672km to be cycled and rowed – has been designed by Geography teacher, Mr Steven Cale, and Biology teacher, Mr Matt Rawlinson. The aim is to raise money for Concord’s school charity, ‘Soil of Amhara’, which was set up in 2019 by Mr Steven Cale, Mr Angus Grant and Mr Edward Coward. Earlier this year, Concord’s Outreach Society raised £450 for the school in Lalibela through a raffle competition – and through this new challenge, Concord hopes to surpass £2000 to improve opportunities for young people in some of the poorest parts of Ethiopia. Said Joint-Founder of the charity, Mr Cale: “The virtual journey will be accomplished collectively through student and staff efforts, in addition to Concord alumni and the wider college community. “On campus, we’ll be using the school’s exercise bikes, to virtually travel the journey through 13 countries, as well as the rowing machines to travel the English Channel and Red Sea. Principal, Mr Neil Hawkins commenced the challenge on an exercise bike earlier today, outside the front of the college’s Main Hall, alongside local cycling legend, Mr Dave Mellor – who works with Concord’s Sports Department, servicing bikes and working with students. Mr Mellor is an ex Great Britain Cycling Olympic and Paralympic Team Manager, and founder and joint-owner of Dave Mellor Cycles in Shrewsbury since 1985. He said: “The challenge is admirable – I think it’s a great idea for the college. “I hope the challenge helps to raise much-needed funds for the school in Lalibela.” Added Mr Mellor: “As well as the challenge, I was delighted that John Owen at Concord recently approached me about purchasing 20 more bikes for students in Acton Pigott residence, so they can safely travel to the college each day and keep active.” Speaking more of the collective challenge, Mr Cale added: “We anticipate that the challenge will last for two to three weeks. “Some of the distance will be covered in students’ and staffs’ spare time, some during dedicated spinning or rowing sessions in the sports department, and some even in the boarding houses for one-off challenges and inter-residence competitions. “All of the bikes and rowers here have pedometers to track the distance, but we encourage all who take part to track their distance using smart phones or other devices too. “We think it will be great fun, and we aim to raise money through family and friends in the form of sponsorship – as well as those paying for the pleasure of riding and taking part. “The funds raised will ensure that children at Lalibela don’t have to sit on the floor in unsafe and uncomfortable buildings. We aim to refurbish four classrooms. “With 1900 students now and the school day split into segments to accommodate such numbers, we want to contribute to tangible changes – something that’s both beneficial for the current cohort and the future students of Lalibela.” For Concord students and staff to take part, a pledge of £5 per person is required, which earns them a dedicated 20-minute slot. After that, all rides contributing to the total distance will be free. For students studying remotely, they can still actively take part by cycling or rowing at home – submitting their distances via screenshots and emailing them to Distances will be tracked and totalled each day then logged online, and you can view the journey on the My Virtual Mission website, to see Concord’s team travel across the world to Lalibela. Other updates will be posted daily on Concord’s social media channels. To support the Concord community in this challenge and raise much-needed funds for Lalibela Primary School, please visit the JustGiving page to securely donate.