St. Johns pupils follow in the tracks of Governor after he completes mammoth cycle ride across Asia

St John’s Primary School had a truly marvellous family day at the Gravesend Cyclo Park recently. The challenge was to see if the School could cycle the 500km that Edward Oatley achieved in Vietnam and Cambodia in February. They had two hours to do so.

Ollie Ireland and the Copp family had organised the event and on a perfect winter’s day, cold but blue skies and sun all day, over 60 parents and children turned up with a variety of bikes, dressed for the weather and with that St John’s spirit of total determination to the cause.

The challenge was fantastically achieved in just 90 minutes, so with 30 minutes to play with, everyone was still on the track. Perhaps Edward should have cycled another 100km!

Diary of a cycling mad man
Edward Oatley embarked on his challenge to cycle through Vietnam and Cambodia to raise funds for a much needed mini-bus for St John’s Primary School.

Already well into his challenge he commented: “We have now completed 225km and because we are only 14 in the group, we have to keep together but you will not be surprised that I am flying the flag of St Johns very much in last place.”

He continues: “It is certainly very testing and feel I am earning any money that has been raised. I am so privileged to be seeing how life is here. Very much family life with parents, children grandchildren all together.”

“We are off to the Killing fields and then to the border with Cambodia, another 100km. Chinese food for breakfast lunch and supper is very testing so I pinch as much bread as I can for lunch.

Almost there! We are now in Cambodia, it’s 35 degrees and somewhat humid. Cycling has become a challenge in these conditions and on mainly hard sandy gravel. Although the great countryside and the people make it very interesting. We experienced a four-hour river crossing on the largest lake in South East Asia and then continued with a 40km cycle to Siam Reap.

The challenge has been a great success and although it has been tough at times, that’s what challenges are all about. We made it to Angkor Wat which is enormous and has a 35km circumference. Now happy to have a rest from Chinese, Vietnam, Cambodian food and a decent cup of coffee would be great.

I am off to the town of Siem Reap again this evening to have a celebration meal. No more cycling, just Tuk Tuk’s at $3 a journey.

It has been an enormous privilege to have been able to take part in this event and an even bigger privilege to have done it for the pupils, staff, governors and parents that make up St John’s Primary School.

Thank you to all the pupils for their encouragement with their cycling and to everyone for the sponsorship for our new school bus.”

Well done Edward, a wondefully marvellous achievement, not to mention the pupils as well!

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