Why the people of Wisbech are amazing

London to Paris charity cycle ride.

London to Paris charity cycle ride. - Credit: Archant

David Kerridge says thank you to everyone who supported Kevin Welbourn and him on their epic charity cycle ride from London to Paris which raised more than £9,000 for Breakthrough Breast Cancer.

London to Paris charity cycle ride.

London to Paris charity cycle ride. - Credit: Archant

WISBECH is an often derided town.

London to Paris charity cycle ride.

London to Paris charity cycle ride. - Credit: Archant

We, as locals, moan quite a bit about the lack of decent shops, the state of the roads, that there’s too many people recently moved in, well...you get the picture.

But here’s the thing; the people of Wisbech are amazing, and here’s why.

In January, a friend of mine, Kev and me, Dave decided to take on a challenge for charity, not just any old challenge, but an incredible one.

Although neither of us were cyclists in any way, we were going to cycle from London to Paris and Kev decided we were going to do it in aid of Breakthrough Breast Cancer.

Our target was set at £3,000 and we were both worried we may struggle to reach it.

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When we told our family and friends of our intentions, we were greeted with various different responses – laughter and much joking at our expense mostly.

But also, great interest in what we were attempting and how we were going to achieve it.

“It’ll be easy,” I would say, “a bit of training, but most of it’s in the head.” I was secretly very nervous, we were, no, we are both big fellas, in no real shape to attempt this sort of thing.

The fundraising was going an awful lot better than my training.

We’d already had some online donations after Kev had set up a Just Giving page, and I’d started to tell my customers about it, (I deliver daily newspapers all over the area) and there was genuine interest.

People were stopping both of us at work or on the street asking us questions, offering donations, it was amazing.

We threw a fundraising party at Mendis, worried that people wouldn’t come, but 170 people turned up and we raised an incredible £1,750 just on that evening alone.

We stood outside Asda for a couple of different weekends, willing people to throw their change in our buckets, we thought we may get £200 or so out of it, but again, we were blown away – over £1,000 raised!

Kev’s work colleagues rallied round him, perhaps in disbelief that he was about to undergo such a huge challenge, he was inundated with money and pledges and encouragement at the Princes factory where he is an engineer.

My customers did me proud – the sponsorship forms I had delivered with their daily paper came flooding in with £5, 10 and 20 donations.

Whenever we met, Kev and I were full of tales of who had given us money that week and how much the total was racing upwards.

By the time we headed off to London on June 7, very nervous, and more than slightly undertrained, we had already raised £7,000.

We knew we had to do our part now, we had to actually cycle from London to Paris over the coming four days.

Over 300 miles of hills, perfect with all the fenland cycling we’d done in training!

We did it though! How we did it? Well that’s another story entirely, and if you know either of us, well then we’ve probably bored you senseless with the details.

When we got back, we both felt like royalty – emotional welcome parties greeted us on our return.

A huge banner outside my mum and dads house so everyone could read what we had achieved, balloons, champagne, a victory party the following night when Kev and I took it in turns to tell the stories of our triumph, it was all such a wonderful experience.

On returning to work, it took me hours to do my paper round, customers stopping me to offer congratulations and asking questions, “What was it like?” “How far did you cycle?” “How much money have you now got?” “Just how sore is your bum?”

And most importantly, the money kept coming in, even from people who had already given, such was their genuine pleasure at seeing two of their own achieve such a lot, they would offer us even more money.

Could we get to £8,000? Yes, no problem, but surely no way we could get to £9,000 is there? Well yes actually, thanks to the incredible generosity of the Wisbech people, our families, friends, customers and colleagues we raised an amazing £9,127.00.

Even now two months on, hardly a day goes by when I’m not asked about our wonderful summer, it really was a life changing event. Would I encourage anyone else to have a go at this sort of thing?

My answer is simple: yes definitely, especially if you have a good network of people behind you, but also if you live in a town like Wisbech! It’s full of good natured, warm, interesting and fantastically generous people.

Thanks Wisbech, you did two Fen Tigers proud!

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