Giles Academy’s pedal power raises thousands

Pupils hand over a cheque for �4,450 to Macmillan Cancer Support
Pupils hand over a cheque for �4,450 to Macmillan Cancer Support

An epic 230-mile coast-to-coast pedal car ride by a team of Giles Academy pupils has raised thousands for Macmillan Cancer Support.

The team of sixth-formers behind the challenge, which took place last month, put in such an effort that donations have now reached £4,550.

The pupils were inspired to take on the challenge in homour of their ‘inspirational’ teacher Ben Vidler, who is seriously ill with cancer.

They completed the ride from Wales to Skegness in less than half the expected time – in 18 hours 57 minutes.

“The pace was relentless, every rider astounding us with their individual performances,” said Scott Relton, the school’s event coordinator. “Each stint lasted much longer than anticipated, everyone sustaining long periods on open roads at speeds sometimes in excess of 30mph. “The dreaded hills of the Peak District were scaled with grit and determinationthrough the night.”

The ride was not plain sailing for the team who suffered a puncture, wheels slipping on hills and getting lost en-route.

Mr Relton said: “All the students and staff united to support this celebration for an inspirational teacher, assistant head Ben Vidler, who sadly is seriously ill with cancer.The cheers and applause as the pedal car entered the school really was overwhelming.”

Mr Vidler is described as an ‘avid supporter for the benefits of outdoor education’ and has been instrumental in the development of the Giles Adventure scheme – with one of his passions having been to ride coast-to-coast.

It was an honour for the team that Mr Vidler was able to cross the finish line to complete the ride and share a proud moment with students, staff, ignitaries and guests.

The team of pupils were Jason Elliott, Gabrielle Petrauskaite, George Houlden, Rowan Mason, Shannon Haliday, Maddy Verdigal, Tom Willetts, Jacub Zareba and Luke Pettitt, along with teacher Alicia Brunskill,

Mr Renton added: “We are extremely grateful to all the sponsors and individuals who gave so generously.”