Currently, around 85 million people around the world have been made homeless by natural disaster and conflict. The charity ShelterBox www.shelterbox.org is working to change this. By providing emergency shelter and tools for families robbed of their homes by disaster, ShelterBox is transforming despair into hope. We all want to see a world where no family is left without shelter after a disaster. Climate Change is increasing the need for immediate shelter following floods, landslides and rising tides. In Syria the refugee problem is showing no signs of disappearing in the near future and Shelter Box are there assisting aid organisations in providing much needed tents and equipment.
ShelterBox was the brainchild of a West Country Rotarian several years ago. It has developed into a Worldwide charity with the green Shelter boxes containing tents and equipment, such as water filters, solar lighting, blankets, cookers and tools, being flown out to disaster areas to keep families sheltered and warm until their homes are re-built or made habitable again.
Rotary clubs have traditionally supported this amazing charity, by raising funds for the boxes and equipment. However, members of Maidstone Riverside Rotary Club decided to go a step further and came up with the novel idea of towing a Shelter Box in a trailer behind a tandem bicycle all the way from Maidstone in Kent to Land’s End in Cornwall.
Riverside Rotarians Clive Bradburn and Norman Springett will tow the ShelterBox behind the tandem for the 370 miles of the 9 day journey. Two fellow Riverside Rotarians, Colin Norgate and Richard Pearce, will accompany them, each riding their own bicycles.
Whilst 73 yr old Clive is a regular cyclist, his “stoker” on the tandem, slightly younger Norman, hasn’t ridden a bike since he was a child. However, throughout the winter he has trained hard and is looking forward to the challenge, as are Richard and Colin.
Sue Bradburn and Doreen Springett will be in the support car and will provide the return transport back from Cornwall. Other Riverside Rotarians and their partners will join the team to give support along the way and Rotary Clubs en-route will also give their support as the bikes pass through their areas.
The ride will start from Maidstone July 2021. Looking at a map of Southern England it can be seen that Maidstone sits in the heel of the country and Lands End at the toe, hence the title “Heel to Toe”.
The route is demanding and undulating. It means traversing high ground including the High Weald, South Downs and Blackdown Hills and up and over the windswept and wild Dartmoor, that really will be a challenge!
On the penultimate day the team will visit Truro in Cornwall where ShelterBox HQ is situated. ShelterBox staff will be there to welcome them and time permitting the team will have a look at the excellent Shelter Box Exhibition Centre.
Riverside Rotary and Shelter Box are most grateful to Clive Emson, Land and Property Auctioneers, for sponsoring the event by covering the project running costs.
The aims of this venture are to raise funds for the ShelterBox charity, promote awareness of the work of ShelterBox and Rotary and to promote exercise and fitness. We would welcome all donations to help us meet our target of: £5,000. This could pay to house around 80 homeless people in eight tents. Donations in support of Shelter Box can be made via the links below: