A TEACHER from Warwick plans to cycle all the way to Syria and back again to help save lives in the war-torn country.
Darren Walden, deputy head at Rugby’s Avon Valley School, will spend the next 12 months cycling 5,480 miles – the equivalent round distance from his Warwick home to the conflict-stricken city of Aleppo.
He will be doing it to raise cash for the British Red Cross’ lifesaving work in Syria.
Darren said: “My inspiration has come from a few different directions but my drive to raise money for the British Red Cross originally stemmed from watching a documentary called ‘The White Helmets’, about a group of volunteers who rescue civilians from their bombed homes in the Syrian city of Aleppo.
“Raising money and getting people to donate is sometimes difficult, but hopefully I can do my part to help make the lives of others in the more challenging parts of the world a bit better.”
Headteacher Alison Davies added Darren had set himself a tough challenge.
She added: “Darren shared his goal with students and staff during assemblies in which he explained how seeing images of suffering motivated him to raise funds. We all wish him good luck.”
And he will be well-prepared. In May he completed the Fred Whitton Challenge – a gruelling 112-mile route in the Lake District, widely regarded as the hardest cycling challenge in the UK.
The British Red Cross says more than 13million people are in need of help in Syria, where the conflict is now in its seventh year. Over six million people have fled their homes and around another five million now live as refugees in neighbouring countries and beyond. The Red Cross, and its partner the Red Crescent, aim to provide food, shelter and medical care to the people who need it most.
Darren is nearing his fundraising target of £1,000. Visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Darren-Walden1 to donate.