Students from Durham University will be undertaking the adventure of a lifetime this summer, cycling from London to Istanbul in aid of charity. The student-led expedition will travel across some of the most inhospitable terrain in Europe, passing through 12 countries in temperatures averaging 37įC. The team of 14 cyclists aims to complete the 5,000 kilometre journey in eight weeks, setting off from Westminster Abbey, London on 23 July 2012.
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Every team member has a strong personal connection with at least one of the teamís four chosen charities, which are: ABF The Soldiersí Charity, The Meningitis Trust, Unseen (UK), The Cancer Care and Haematology Fund: Stoke Mandeville.
Some team members have close family relations who are either currently serving or have retired from the British Army.
Nic Bird, a final year geography student from Hatfield College, said: "Some people are aware of my brothers recent deployment to Afghanistan. However, I donít think people appreciate the level of risk these men and women are undertaking. All too often, soldiers, seamen and airmen are returning limbless, or sometimes tragically, failing to return at all. This team effort is a very small show of our appreciation to all those that are quite literally willing to risk everything."
One team member, Adam Hedges, an 18-year-old first year student from University College, has recently recovered from bacterial meningitis. In stating his reasons for taking part in the expedition he has said, "Not only do I want to get out of London for the Olympics, this expedition is a show of my appreciation to a charity very close to my heart. Five months ago I was diagnosed with meningitis. The support the medical staff gave me, not to mention the support from my family and friends, got me through it. This is my opportunity to give something back to those suffering from the same life threatening disease that changed my life."
Tom Collins, a 21-year-old second year student studying Law and Sociology said: "Iím just so privileged to be a part of such a fantastic team. Last summer, I worked in McDonaldís. This summer, Iím cycling to Turkey for a fantastic cause."
With a collective team target of £20,000 that will be split evenly across the four charities, the team has organised a number of fundraising events across northeast England over the course of the next five months in the build up to its mammoth expedition.
Anyone wishing to show their support for the students on the 5,000km expedition can do so via the teamís Just Giving page
or by contacting Nic Bird, telephone: 07900 466772 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Any donation, private or corporate, however small, will be hugely appreciated and warmly received.