St Albans cyclists tackle 500 mile challenge across France
PUBLISHED: 07:00 24 July 2019 | UPDATED: 09:31 24 July 2019
Charity cyclists pedalled 500 miles across France on a modern-day pilgrimage back to the historic home of the founders of a St Albans school.
Staff, alumni, parents and a student from St Columba's College pedalled from Lille to Lyon over six days to raise awareness of the school's bursary fundraising campaign, Changing Lives.
Staying in hotels along the way, the plucky group travelled about 90 miles each day over around nine hours from 8am to 5pm.
Not all of the team were hardened cyclists, and they made sure to train together in the weekends leading up to the trip.
Director of communications, admissions and development at St Columba's College, challenge cyclist Jim Lewis, said: "I can not thank this team enough for a truly memorable trip.
"The camaraderie, support and laughter shared by 16 to 64-year-olds was inspirational, and summed up all that makes this school community so great.
"Further events will follow to highlight this campaign, so that come September 2020 we are able to award further bursaries to local children."
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St Columba's College was initially opened in 1939 by Philip O'Neill, and then taken over by the Brothers of the Sacred Heart in 1955.
Described by the school as a "religious family", the brothers were founded in 1821 to educate orphaned and poor children living in Lyon.
They went on to establish numerous other missions across the world, including St Columba's in St Albans.
The College's Changing Lives campaign aims to stay true to its ethos by providing bursaries to local boys who cannot afford its private education costs - fees for the September 2019 intake range from £10,902 to £16,326, depending on age.
Changing Lives' slogan is "providing a transformational education for those whose potential is greater than their means".
Previously called the 1821 Bursary Fund, the scholarship project has raised more than £60,000 since it began.
About £23,000 towards that total has been collected with the Lille to Lyon cycle ride.
The first Changing Lives bursary recipient will join the school this September.
Donate to the Changing Lives fund at tinyurl.com/y4okuskr