Community starts 601-mile virtual cycle to help feed those in need

Pictured left to right: Daniel Murphy, John Murphy, Frances Rayner, Shane Gardner and Sarah Appleton. 

Pictured left to right: Daniel Murphy, John Murphy, Frances Rayner, Shane Gardner and Sarah Appleton. - Credit: Sarah Hussain

A community has come together to take part in a 12-hour virtual cycle to France to help provide food for those in need.

People behind the No Child Hungry Scheme in Downham Market aim to raise around £4,500 to continue buying food and hygiene items for young people and families struggling in their area.

The project was initially set up to provide food parcels for the two weeks over Christmas for those in need, but it has continued following demand and the support from the local community.

Pictured left to right: Emma Drew, Lisa Jarratt and Andy Bullen.

Pictured left to right: Emma Drew, Lisa Jarratt and Andy Bullen. - Credit: Sarah Hussain

Around 40 people have signed up to take turns on spin bikes in the town square from Friday, April 30 to Saturday, May 1 for the cause, which will take place from 8am to 2pm on both days.

The Downham Market community has come together to take part in a 12 hour virtual cycle to France.

The Downham Market community has come together to take part in a 12 hour virtual cycle to France to help provide food for those in need. - Credit: Sarah Hussain

Organiser Frances Rayner said: "We have set up this fundraiser in the hope that is will involve lots of different people in the community and draw people to donate either on the days by visiting the challenge taking place or through the Justgiving page.

"It's a virtual journey from Downham Market to its twinning town Civray, France. We have 12 hours to do it in."

Volunteers in Downham Market launched a campaign to ensure that no children in and around the town went hungry.

Volunteers in Downham Market launched a campaign to ensure that no children in and around the town went hungry. - Credit: Anna Foster


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People from local businesses including Arbuckles and Accent Fresh will be taking part.

Andrew Rogers, 58, also hopes to do a spell on the bikes with his wife Beverley and a team from Downham Market Methodist Church.

Andrew and Beverley plan to take part in the virtual event. Pictured with Brian Rogers. 

Andrew and Beverley plan to take part in the virtual event. Pictured with Brian Rogers. - Credit: Andrew Rogers

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He remembers being involved in the original Civray ride in 1979 with his dad Brian Rogers, 84, after biking on a tandem to London and back as part of practice runs before his dad's big ride.

He said: "I was 16 at the time. Dad was the founding president of the Lions Club in Downham Market in 1978 and so I guess that is why he took part in this charity event the next year.

Photo of the return from Civray in 1979.

Photo of the riders return from Civray in 1979. - Credit: Archant archives

"It was a big deal that seemed to involve and engage many people." They will be on the square on Saturday.

Speaking about Friday's cycle, Mrs Rayner said: "It's been really great, we're averaging about 50 miles an hour across three bikes."

The scheme is currently supporting 32 children from 13 families.

Abbie, Jody and Paige from Accent Fresh will be taking on the virtual cycle on Saturday, May 1.

Abbie, Jody and Paige from Accent Fresh will be taking on the virtual cycle on Saturday, May 1. - Credit: Frances Rayner

No Child Hungry Scheme in Downham Market.

No Child Hungry Scheme in Downham Market. - Credit: The Swan Project

To donate visit justgiving.com/campaign/nochildgoeshungry


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