Speaker Meeting 17th August 2015
Church Wilne Rotary Club President Tony starts the Rotary year with a 1400 km Cycle Ride

Tony showing off his trusty steed used for the epic journey.

Around 8 hours a day in the saddle during a week to cycle over 1400 kilometres (900 miles) from Denmark to Paris and raise money for a children's heart hospital was the challenge for 2015 Church Wilne Rotary Club President Tony Beenham.

It all came about during the May 2014 bi-annual Twinning visit of Church Wilne Rotary Club to our twinned Rotary club in Hinnerup. Upcoming President Tony made the decision to join this Danish charity cycle ride with an aim to accept the personal mental and physical challenge, raise our Club profile and fund raise and support the local community.

This last six years, District 1440 Rotary Clubs of Hinnerup, Hammel and Hadsten of the Favrskov community in Denmark, known as Team Rotary Favrskov, have cycled to Paris to raise funding for charity. The mixed group whose ages ranged from 19 through to 65, consisted of 36 riders, 35 Danish Rotarians and friends plus one British rider, Tony. Tony was supported by his partner Paula who was part of the service team of 10, providing the freshly made food, drink and support of the group at each of their 3 daily 7 minute breaks during this gruelling but enjoyable week.

To partake involved buying a suitable bike, followed by 8 months of early morning gym before work, spinning classes, hill and endurance training in UK and Spain, a trial 425 km weekend ride the length of Denmark before setting off on Saturday 4th July through Denmark, Germany, Holland Belgium and France to arrive in Paris on 11th July 2015

Early on Saturday 4th, the group were involved in publicity interviews and photographs before setting off from Hammel. We stayed at lovely hotels along the route with each day starting early with a hearty breakfast, packing the 4 service vehicles and the riders setting off at 800 am prompt. During the week we endured 35°C hot and humid temperatures, torrential rain, Tour de France routes with a hill climb of le Huy in Belgium, beautiful scenery plus the total satisfaction of completing this cycling challenge with all riders cycling into a sunny hot Paris.

Tony waves as his group nears the finish

We were greeted into the centre of Paris, Place de Concorde, by family, friends and colleagues were we then enjoyed a satisfying BBQ accompanied by Champagne.

Paula and a very happy Tony, finished and finally in Paris

Rotarian Ken Austin and his wife Ann went to see the triumphant arrival

After an hour of enjoying food, drink and photos we were again on our bikes and formed a tight group, cycled along the cobbled Champs d'Elysees up to and twice around the Arc d'Triumph, cycling through all red lights and holding up the centre of Paris …..Magnifique.

The Super Group of riders and support staff at the end

Montage of photos from Paris

Tony commented that this was such a fantastic event to be involved with, a physical and mental challenge as well as so satisfying to complete and have much respect for all involved, from the organisers and all the Danish friends that both Tony and Paula have made during the week.

The overall ride has so far collected £31k towards Bornehjertefonden – Denmark's Childrens Heart Hospital, £25k towards International and local community projects plus Tony has raised £1,150 towards local Derby charities Treetops Hospice and Erewash CVS.

Donations are still very much appreciated on Tonys online charity pages of:
https://www.justgiving.com/Tony-Beenham for Treetops Hospice
https://www.justgiving.com/Tony-Beenham1 for Erewash CVS

For any further information on Rotary, our speaker evenings and upcoming events, contact Rotarian John Astell at: rccw1220@gmail.com


3rd August 2015

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