Pownall Hall School parents cycle 170 miles to raise funds for charity

The Pownall Wheelers team

The Pownall Wheelers team - Credit: Archant

An inspiring group of Pownall Hall School parents donned their Lycra, some for the first time, to take part in a 170 mile cycling trip from Morecambe to Bridlington.

Chloe Lowndes and Charlotte Hunt with Jon Hunt

Chloe Lowndes and Charlotte Hunt with Jon Hunt - Credit: Archant

The Coast to Coast challenge wasn’t a narcissistic test of their endurance. The group of nine men, consisting of Jon Hunt, Frank Durkin, Mark Bradbury, Gary Broady, Nick Garvin, Nick White, Steve Lowndes, Steve McConville and Adam Eckersley, were raising money for a well deserving cause, the English Federation of Disability Sport.

‘It was Jon’s idea,’ explain Frank, who before the challenge wasn’t a keen cyclist and only bought his bike the month before. ‘He was the driving force behind it. There was a real mix of participants from novices through to an Iron Man triatholonist. The important thing was to make sure we finished as a team.’

Caoimhe Durkin, Chloe Lowndes and Charlotte Hunt

Caoimhe Durkin, Chloe Lowndes and Charlotte Hunt - Credit: Archant

‘My wife picked out the charity,’ said Jon. ‘We wanted to support a sporting charity and the school support the Seashell Trust, so it tied in nicely. It has captured everyone’s imagination, engaging both parents and pupils at the school to help raise money and take it beyond the bike.’

As well as supporting a charity, which with pledges still coming in the team believe to have raised over £4,000, it was important for what the Pownall Wheelers accomplished to translate over to the pupils.

‘It wasn’t about the bike, but the person. The bike will work as hard as you if you want it to,’ explained Frank. ‘Everything is possible – which is the school’s motto. We wanted to engage the children with this, contextualising what the ride meant within their learning environment.’

Each year at the school the pupils participate in a two-week project based around a specific topic. This year, it was about heroes, and started with former Parachute Regiment Captain Martin Hewitt coming in to tell the pupils about his inspiring story. Wilmslow-born Martin, whose career was cut short after being shot in Afghanistan, has since participated in amazing challenges such as leading the first disabled team to attempt to climb the highest mountain on each continent and reach both North and South Pole.

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‘It then ended with the guys doing the bike ride,’ said David Gouldbourn, headmaster of Pownall Hall. ‘There are different types of heroes, from superheroes to Martin. Through real life context and the curriculum, we wanted to see how they each defined their personal idea of a hero.’

This, in addition to a ‘Wheels Day’ where each class of pupils collectively cycled the same distance as the Pownall wheelers, enforced the real message behind the challenge. ‘We could have just done the ride, but it wouldn’t have meant anything to the children,’ said Frank. ‘Pownall Hall is a community school built for that purpose of bringing everyone together, and the bike ride did that.’

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