Harpenden Rotary Club man gets on his bike for Africa

ROTARY president Phil Murray is collecting old bicycles for charity – and he is urging local people to support him.

As president of Harpenden Village Rotary Club, Phil could choose a charity for the club to support during his year in office.

He explained: “I’m a school teacher so the charity Bikes4Africa, which helps youngsters get an education, was a natural choice for me. In the Gambia, having a bike can mean a youngster getting a secondary school education. Without transport it can mean walking a distance equivalent to trekking from Harpenden to Whipsnade – and back – and that’s no mean challenge in constant searing heat.

“The bike is lent by the school so when a student finishes their education it’s recycled to a new student.

He added: “Through setting up collection points in the town we’ve amassed 101 old bikes so far and I’m aiming at 300 by the time my presidential year finishes at the end of June.”

The next collection is at Harpenden Station between 2pm and 4pm this Sunday, February 26.

The bikes are taken to a warehouse in Wiltshire where the Bath-based charity jole rider, which runs Bikes4Africa, has them refurbished in prisons. They are then shipped to The Gambia where locally trained bike engineers keep the fleet in tip-top condition.