Abingdon YF Cycle 210 miles for local Charity Blue Skye Thinking

24 April 2017

Abingdon Young Farmers came up with the crazy idea of cycling to Torquay on tandems to raise money for local charity Blue Skye Thinking (research into treatment for childhood brain tumours).

On Tuesday 18th April 8 members set off from Abingdon market square on 4 tandems: Dave, Christina, Verenique, Lauren, Danny, Isobel, Darren, and Rebecca. We later found out that Abingdon YFC had down the same 36 years ago to Blackpool in the snow! We were joined by the support van run by Andrew and Kim who met us at the various stops and carried all our kit and tools. We managed to get a little crowd together to see us off including Skye's family. We were lucky with the weather despite it being very cold the sun was shining every day. Isobel managed to secure us accommodation along the way and, in true young farmer spirit, clubs and counties across the country showed their support by greeting us as we arrived, gave us a bed to stay in and cooked us breakfast and dinner each day (we really were spoilt with the feasts they provided us with). Devizes YFC in Wiltshire made us a very tasty tiffin cake, Sherborne YFC in Devon took us to the pub to meet the rest of the club with drinks ready and waiting for us. Whimple & Broadclyst YFC also in Devon let us stay in a massive B&B! We were genuinely overwhelmed by the kindness shown by the clubs and families that hosted us. We collected lots of donations along the way - the friendliest town was Crewkerne  where complete strangers stopped to chat and donate.

Rebecca's parents saved the day on our toughest day, the bikes had needed to be fixed and we were behind schedule we had 8 hangery
cyclist as all the pubs had stopped serving food, they managed to convince a hotel to make us a massive sandwich buffet which they treated us to. Our favourite part was cycling through the Ford with our legs in the air getting drenched as we sped through the water and going 30mph down the hills, those tandems can really pick up the speed (we managed to set off the
'slow down' signs multiple times!). On the last day we hadn't anticipated the horrendous hills (20% gradient!) our bums were very sore by now and our thighs were burning but we powered on to complete the 210 mile journey. We had a quick stop at Salt and Pepper who had some much needed cold pints of cider waiting for us and a £50 cheque! But nothing beat the moment we arrived to a cheering crowd of Young Farmers and the Farmers Guardian cameras made us feel like celebrities! Mike, Skye's grandad greeted us on arrival and kindly treated us all to lunch. Afterwards we celebrated with magnums of Prosecco that were donated to the team - a great way to start the AGM. The experience was a real test of character, it pushed us all to our limits and everyone agreed it was the most difficult thing they had ever done. We are so proud of what we have achieved. The total amount we raised was £5,000 which smashed our original target. We would like to thank everyone who donated and all the clubs, businesses, famiy & friends that supported us along the way.

Christina O'Hare - Abingdon YFC

If you would like to support the work Abingdon YFC have done and make a donation to Blue Skye Thinking please click on the link below -