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Daniel and his father Ian Flemmer got on their bikes for the Trust in August 2018, undertaking an Alpine bike ride with a group of Ian’s friends from Mention near Nice to Chamonix, a 690km journey and +14.5km vertical climb over 6 days, which has resulted in Daniel raising £2,300 for the Harry Birrell Scholarship Trust. What a great effort!


Daniel takes up the story of this epic journey:

“My school has a Global services program where we are encouraged to raise funds for Global initiatives. I wanted to put my energies into a Southern Africa project as my parents were born there and I feel a strong connection to South Africa, especially the Eastern Cape. Having completed an eye-opening fortnight with families and children less fortunate than myself in Zambia, I returned to Europe and my privileged lifestyle. A few months earlier my dad had met a trustee of the Harry Birrrell Scholarship Trust while on a business trip to Singapore and told me about the great work they were doing.

I had two and a half months of summer ahead of me and we discussed the possibility of me joining my dad and some friends on a bike ride from Menton in the south of France, across the Alps to Chamonix. Not being a cyclist and knowing the sheer physical effort involved I was not gripped with enthusiasm but on a whim, I


decided to do it for charity. Once I had registered the cycle with just giving, I was immediately motivated by some touching and generous donations; and there was no turning back. It was good bye to my weekend lie-ins and I started training. Initially I was using my mums’ bike, but my dad eventually bought me an entry level road bike. I was checking justgiving daily and with every donation I was spurred on.

We set off on a warm day in August, I was by far the least experienced cyclist, but as the rest were mamils (middle aged men in lycra) loaded up with high end carbon bike, I felt I could hold my own. Whilst the tour was ‘definitely not a race’ I was immediately struck by the importance attached to a podium finish and worked hard to finish in the top three up each mountain pass. Each day was on average 100km and 2800m on col climbing and each day was celebrated with ice cold beer and a lot of abuse being dished out to the slower ones (which included my dad). My main cycling achievement was a first place finish on the iconic Col d’Iseran (the highest col in the Alps). The low point was probably on day three where the first half of the day was in pouring rain and the top of the col was 4C. Luckily the café was open serving the best hot chocolate I have ever had! Despite not being fully prepared wet weather cycling I was determined to finish that climb as I had made the commitment to my sponsors which made a huge difference to my mindset.

My goal was to raise £2000 which goes a long way in South Africa. I ended up raising £2300 and felt genuine emotion and was proud that I was doing something to help others. It was a great way to do good, while physically challenging myself and going through some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. I loved the camaraderie among the cyclists even though most were from my dad’s generation. I felt part of something bigger and I loved it. In the end it was 690km, 14900m climbing and 16 high mountain cols (mostly HC and category 1).”

Our huge thanks and congratulations to Daniel, Ian and the other mamils! The trustees are delighted with such sporting endeavours on behalf of the Trust, which are very much in keeping with our roots and fundraising ethos. In 2019 we have several Friends of the Trust in training for marathons, which they are intending to run in aid of the Trust. Our very best wishes to them, and if anyone is tempted to follow their or Daniel and Ian’s great example, why not reach out for some guidance from our Team GB rowing trustee Ollie Cook at, who is happy to offer ideas and guidance around training and goal setting for any such sporting endeavours undertaken on behalf of the Trust.    

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