In January 2017 Darren Walden, a Deputy Headteacher, from The Avon Valley School and Performing Arts College, chose to support the British Red Cross’s efforts in Syria by setting himself, and embarking on, an epic twelve month cycle challenge.
Mr Walden’s initial goal was to cycle 5480 miles, the approximate distance from his home in Warwick to the conflict stricken Syrian city of Aleppo and back again. However, after achieving this distance in early September, Mr Walden upped his distance target to a staggering 7000 miles.
As a keen cyclist Mr Walden is no stranger to physical challenges. In May, he along with a small group of friends, conquered one of the toughest cycling tests by completing the Fred Whitton Challenge, a gruelling 112-mile route in the Lake District, a ride which is widely recognised to be the hardest cycling sportive in the UK.
Throughout the year Mr Walden’s friends, family, colleagues and students have recognised the size of the challenge and the commitment needed to complete it and contributed over £2,400.
Upon completing his challenge, Mr Walden said, “I want to say a massive thank you to everyone who supported me and made donations to my charity fundraising last year. I managed to raise £2432.98 for The British Red Cross, a fantastic amount of money that I know will be well used in supporting those less fortunate than ourselves.
Mr Walden added, “Everyone has been extremely kind and generous with support, encouragement, positivity and donations. After a short rest, I am now back on the bike and looking for some new challenges!”
Alison Davies, Headteacher, said, “Darren set himself, and beat, a very ambitious target while raising a wonderful sum of money for the British Red Cross. At the beginning of his challenge he delivered an assembly to our students which highlighted the work done by the charity.”
According to the British Red Cross website, the Syria conflict is now in its seventh year and more than 13 million people are in need of help. Over 6.3 million people have fled their homes because of fighting and another 4.9 million now live as refugees in neighbouring countries and beyond. The Red Cross and their partners the Red Crescent aim to provide food, shelter and medical care to the people who need it most.
Anyone wishing to donate can do so via the Just Giving website: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Darren-Walden1