Cycling to Support the Homeless
Last summer, YJA had the pleasure of meeting some of the amazing people behind a charity cycle ride that started just outside Lincoln and ended at Westminster Abbey! That route followed the 1290 funeral cortege of Queen Eleanor. You can listen to the YJA interview here.
This is the press release for their 2017 repeat event:
A Fun Cycle Ride – Lincoln to London – Raising Funds to Support Homeless People
Bookings are now being taken for the Annual Queen Eleanor Charity Cycle Ride this August Bank Holiday weekend, raising money for a London homeless person’s charity, The Connection at St Martin’s.
The number of people living on the streets continues to rise with the bright lights and anonymity of London attracting those from all corners of the UK. Each personal story brings its own tale of heartache leading to broken lives – job loss, bereavement, relationship breakdown, mental health problems, financial worries etc.
The cycle route starts at Harby just outside Lincoln, where Queen Eleanor died in 1290, and passes through Lincolnshire, Rutland, Northamptonshire and Bedfordshire, and ends at Queen Eleanor’s Tomb in Westminster Abbey.
The last of the 12 Eleanor Crosses (of which sadly only three remain in their original form) is Charing Cross, which is a stone’s throw from The Connection. King Edward 1 arranged for his wife’s body to be carried to Westminster Abbey and ordered for 12 crosses bearing statues of the Queen – the Queen Eleanor Crosses – to be erected at places where the procession stopped overnight. Most of the crosses were destroyed during the English Civil War. Three of the original crosses remain, in Geddington, Hardingstone (on the outskirts of Northampton) and Waltham Cross.
It is a friendly, sociable charity bike ride suitable for adults capable of riding 200 miles with 3 overnight stops, and also enthusiastic about fund-raising. Cyclists are accommodated in church halls along the way in Grantham, Geddington and Dunstable, with support vehicles to carry luggage and manage emergencies, plus hospitable hosts providing delicious refreshments at regular stops on the way. The route is mostly on minor roads and cycleways, and cyclists ride in groups divided according to speed. For some it’s a challenge to race to the next stop; for others the challenge is simply to get there!
Keith Busfield, who is one of the team of organisers this year, said: “It’s a great way to help raise valuable funds to help homeless people. Moreover, it’s tremendous fun, a chance to learn about the history, meet lots of new people and get fit.”
Money is raised through sponsorship, with funds supporting the work of The Connection at St Martin’s in Trafalgar Square, Central London. The Connection is London’s busiest homelessness charity supporting people away from the streets through specialist services including a day & night centre, street outreach, help finding employment and specialist mental health and addiction support. The small registration fee covers all accommodation and food. For every £100 raised it gives someone homeless two nights in the warmth and safety of an emergency Night Centre, with showers, hot nutritious food, and a 1-2-1 support session with a keyworker.