Nick Higham, 52, and Mark Harrison, 49, from St. Martin’s Ampleforth didn’t hesitate when their friend and colleague, Joe Mycielski, and his wife, Vivian, asked for their help to raise money in memory of their son, Bruno, who was born prematurely and died, in order to create a bursary fund for Ampleforth College. The funds raised (target £600,000) will be kept in endowment so that each and every year they generate £30,000 to cover the cost of one student in the school for that academic year. They have specifically requested that the students receiving this bursary through the years should be from a background most needing help and support, the most vulnerable and disadvantaged young people whose lives could change forever as a result of such a bursary at Ampleforth. Hence the challenge, cycling over 700 miles from Saint Bruno’s birthplace in Cologne, Germany back to Ampleforth Abbey where Bruno is buried.
Mark, who will have to return to work to welcome the boarders back to school within two hours of their return on Sunday 2nd June, said, “I am nervous as I haven’t had much time to train since term started, but I’m really looking forward to being part of this inspirational event. I’m really happy to be giving up the half term holiday for such a wonderful and worthwhile cause”. Nick is using every spare moment to train, often starting before school or finishing once it is dark. He said, “As the senior citizen of the group, I’m determined to keep up with the younger members of the team in an effort to support Joe and Vivian turning this sadness into an uplifting and healing event that will have a lasting impact on many young people’s lives.”
The two cyclists are particularly looking forward to the final day, when 70 other cyclists will join them to ride the last leg from Doncaster. Then, at York, a further 30 cyclists will join in for the last 20 miles, meaning that a peloton of over 100 cyclists, escorted by outriders, will make the final journey through the Ampleforth valley to be greeted by more than 300 supporters. A fitting end to a grueling challenge.