Participants signed up from Australia, Kenya, India, Britain and the United States – each with a target of raising a minimum of £1,500 – and following the cycling were given the chance to see how their money is being spent by HEAL when they visited school projects in Andhra Pradesh.
They called in at Paradise Village, where construction of a new school are at an
advanced stage on the site based at Thotapally, which will become home to 1,000 severely
under-privileged children following its opening this summer.
The Cycle India 2014 team also received a rapturous welcome from hundreds of youngsters at the long-established HEAL Children’s Village in Guntur, bringing the 10-day trip to a memorable and emotional end.
Organiser Jem King was delighted with the response from his team of cyclists, many of whom have already expressed an interest in signing up for Cycle India.
“When our head of fundraising, Matthew Glover, first put forward the idea for a cycling event in India to raise awareness and money for HEAL I’m sure he had no idea just how popular it would become,” said Jem.
“To break through the quarter-of-a-million pounds barrier after just four events in
2008, 2010, 2012 and now this year underlines how important Cycle India has become in
the HEAL calendar.
“We have chosen a different part of India for each event and plans are already in the
pipeline for Cycle India 2016 to be held in Rajasthan.
“I am amazed at how many of this year’s group have already made it clear they will be
back in two years’ time – even with the memories of all that hard pedalling still fresh
in their minds!
“But I have received nothing but positive feedback from the entire team and nobody had a
bad word to say about our organising partners in India, Kalypso Adventures, who once
again did us proud.
“It was great for all of our cyclists to see where the money raised is going by spending
time at Paradise Village, now just a few months away from accepting its first intake of
children, and of course the highlight of every trip, the visit to HEAL Children’s
“The children gave our team a heroes’ welcome and I know that several of our first-time
riders were moved to become instant child sponsors during their brief stay in Guntur,
cementing their future relationship with HEAL.”
HEAL UK director Matthew Glover and fiancee Jane were unable to take part in Cycle India 2014, but Matthew added: “It looked like another amazing event, and we’re disappointed that we couldn’t make it this time.
“But overall I’m delighted that we’ve passed £250K and thrilled with how Cycle India has become a major part of HEAL’s fundraising activities.
“The money raised from the four bike rides have made a massive difference to a small charity like HEAL and the children in India who directly benefit.
“And, it’s a win/win for those taking part as they get to meet the children who they’ve raised money for, while getting fit and experiencing India in this most wonderful way.”