Cycle challenge between two Fighting Cocks pubs

Matt Bigg and Christo Tofalli are cycling between two Ye Olde Fighting Cocks pubs.

Matt Bigg and Christo Tofalli are cycling between two Ye Olde Fighting Cocks pubs. - Credit: YOFC

A well-known pub landlord is embarking on an epic 400km bike ride between two different Ye Olde Fighting Cocks to raise money for local charities.

Christo Tofalli from the Verulamium Park boozer is setting out to visit the landlord of its namesake in Arnside, Cumbria to raise money for Save St Albans Pubs, a not-for-profit community group and two mental-health charities, It's OK to Say and Youth Talk.

Joining him on the bike ride over the weekend of September 17 will be St Albans Film Festival director Matt Bigg and a few other mates along the way, plus a three-man film crew who are going to record their journey.

Christo has been in training with a fitness coach since May 2020 and is about to start clocking up 100km on a bike each week. 

Talking about why he is taking on such a challenge, Christo said: "These three charities mean a lot to me. I am a patron and co-founder of Save St Albans Pubs, which started out life as a not-for-profit community group that was fighting an extraordinary hike in business rates that was causing pub closures across the country. 


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"This campaign took us to Westminster to deliver reports and papers to the Treasury Select Committee to highlight the flaw in the tax system that was unfairly penalising pubs. But of course, the pandemic has preceded this particular campaign and Save St Albans Pubs has been focusing on keeping our pubs going throughout the most challenging of times adding to the debate in Westminster the entire time. We are small but we pack a punch for every pub in the country.

"It's OK To Say is a mental health charity I am heavily involved with. Led by mental health, we are embarking on creating technology to create a campaign aimed at helping to bring an end to bullying for children and teenagers.

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"Our kids have had a tough time in the last 18 months without trying to deal with bullying and now is the time to bring an end to it, and I am determined to work as hard as I can to do that. 

"And Youth Talk is the third charity that I am passionate about. It provides free and confidential counselling to young people aged 13 to 25 across the city district; it's such an invaluable service right now. We have some of our younger staff already involved, it's also the chosen charity of the St Albans Mayor so happy days."

He added: "But another reason for this bike ride is to ‘Save the World One Beer at a Time', by raising awareness of the FBS Foundation, also known as the Fake Beer Syndrome Foundation. 

"There are billions of FBS sufferers across the world including myself. The condition strikes when you promise to meet an old friend you haven't seen for ages down the pub but don't honour that promise, and within a few days you feel overcome with guilt and sadness that you are letting your friend - and yourself - down. 

"I am obviously an FBS sufferer, having promised Tony at Ye Olde Fighting Cocks in Arnside nine years ago that I would visit his pub and enjoy a cold beer with him. I am now honouring that promise - as well as raising funds for three local charities - and ridding myself of FBS as rehabilitation by cycling all the way to Arnside with a few mates to have a beer with Tony. 

"We are encouraging other people to talk about FBS and share. We have a number of small films lined up that will show people about my journey of recovery."

Christo has masses of support along the way from a wide range of local businesses including the Herts Advertiser, Eyes on St Albans, St Albans Brazilian Jujitsu, Ask for Clive, Pub Pride and Loudbird PR and Communications just to name a few. He will be cycling on to Gretna Green after Arnside so his total journey will be 650km!

You can find out more about how you can support Christo, his three charities and the FBS Foundation by heading over to facebook.com/FBSFoundation

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