Emmanuel College, in Gateshead, is marking its silver anniversary with a host of activities and events with the aim of raising £25,000 to fund a new school in South Africa.

In the latest challenge in EC25, a team of 19 cyclists comprising 11 students, five parents and staff members Vice Principal Mark Hall, Assistant Vice Principal Gareth Steer and Challenge Organiser Dominic Bourn, completed the 140-mile route from Whitehaven, in Cumbria, to Tynemouth Priory in three days.

The youngest cyclist was 12-year-old Nathan Wood and the most senior was 73-year-old grandfather Nico Arponne.

coast to coast 2The group kicked off in traditional style with a wheel-dip in the Irish Sea, and camped en route, in Penrith and Allenheads.

Mr Bourn, who teaches physics at Emmanuel, said: “The whole team really gelled together and we had an awesome time. Everyone helped to motivate each other along, especially up the hills, including the relentless four-mile climb up 500m to the top of the Hartside pass in the Pennines. Mr Arponne was an inspiration to us all as he was one of the first to reach the top of the inclines.

“The highlights of the cycle ride included bombing along some fantastic downhill sections and enjoying a cuppa in some cosy Dales tearooms. We enjoyed some fantastic scenery along the route, particularly along Loweswater in the Lake District.

“It was great to gather together at the end of each day to share stories and prepare for the challenges of the next day.”

The other Emmanuel students who cycled the route were Jordan-Lee Guthrie, Dylan Byrne, William McLeod, Lewis Heaney, Matthew Penney, Oliver Cooper, Georgia Kyle, Morgan Conley-Owens, Johnathon Peacock, Ryan Cunningham and Harry Allport.

Two other students, Josh Steer and Haydn Lisk, accompanied driver Gill Lisk, Charities Co-ordinator at Emmanuel College, in the support vehicle.

Mr Bourn added: “We’d like to give special thanks to Stanley Travel, who offered their bike/bus service at a special low rate in support of our 25th anniversary charity appeal, and to Sir Robert McAlpine Engineering, who provided hi-vis vests with our EC25 logo. We would also like to thank Chain Events for supporting the event with catering and logistics.”

The challenge raised £4,000, which is the single biggest contribution to EC25 so far.

The fund-raising continues this weekend with an anniversary dinner at the Gosforth Marriott Hotel.

In its mission to leave a lasting legacy of Emmanuel’s first 25 years, the college is hoping the first school it funds for the poorest of the poor in South Africa will be a model for primary education and the start of a chain of schools for children who would otherwise be destined for a life of poverty.

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