On Saturday 13th September 2014, the amazing ‘Dreamriders’ arrived in Disneyland, Paris having cycled over 200 miles to raise a staggering £14,500
in aid of Dreamflight.
Clare Baker, who leads the Gatwick Fundraising Group (GFG) created the ‘Dreamriders Destination Disneyland Paris Challenge’ back in February 2013. Fellow Dreamflight supporters soon embraced her vision of raising funds to give at least two children a place on Dreamflight in 2015.
Team members included Dreamflight Patron and Paralympic Gold medallist Liz Johnson, Lucy Groenewoud, Angela Carrabotta, Louise Henley, Steve Surrey, Warwick Harvey, Derek Middlehurst, Jarrod Patterson, Tom Challoner, Andrew Humphries and Adrian Hutchinson.
Former Olympic gymnast and SKY TV presenter Suzanne Dando and Dreamflight Founder, Patricia Pearce MBE waved the cyclists off from Gatwick Airport and two British Airways Managers flanked the team on their motorbikes on the first leg of the journey through Sussex - Brian Currie (General Manager of Engineering) on his Harley Davidson and Garry Copeland (Managing Director of Combined Operations) on his BMW.
The cyclists had an amazing support team who provided refreshments, jelly beans and ‘pep talks’ to keep morale high. Team members included GFG leader Clare Baker, British Airways Cabin Service Director Craig Daly and former Dreamflight child Nina Woodhead.
On the first day the party travelled from Gatwick to Newhaven, then by ferry to Dieppe and through Northern France to finish on the fourth day in Paris. There was a natural split into two groups - the outriders ‘puncture group’ (with a grand total of eight punctures) and ‘team tortoise’ that determinedly brought up the rear. It was a true team effort; no one was left behind or dismounted to climb the steep hills of France. Personal challenges were faced and screaming muscles were endured..!
Organiser Clare Baker commented “I am so proud that my idea finally became a reality. I have huge respect and admiration for the ‘Dreamriders’ and their support team. We have exceeded our goal and can now pay for four children to be on Dreamflight in October 2015. Thank you for making this possible, you are all stars! Big thanks also to our sponsors Haven Motors, Unbeatable Car, Omni Insurance, Halfords & South Downs Cycle Department, we couldn’t have done it without you!”
Photo: Rob Wilson