Pupils at Downlands Community School at Blandford Garrison in Dorset have given a group of charity cyclists from construction company Morgan Sindall a boost.
A team of 27 cyclists from the company's Poole office will set off on 22 July - aiming to be in the centre of Paris three days later – just in time to see the professionals at work as the Tour de France finishes at the Champs-Élysées.
As part of their training they have been cycling all over Dorset – which has included cycling to work. And, when some members of the team decided to cycle to a meeting at Downlands Community School, the pupils were only too happy to give them some much needed encouragement.
“With just weeks to go, we’re all getting really excited about the event and every mile of training counts,” says Morgan Sindall area director Paul Gale. “We were thrilled with the support that the youngsters gave us and hope they enjoy finding out how we do when we embark on the challenge.”
Morgan Sindall is currently building a new £2.5 million extension at the school which will house four new classrooms for key stage two pupils.
Downlands head teacher Alan Frame, says: “The children at Downlands wanted to support Morgan Sindall and the team of 27 cyclists from Poole. They are thrilled with their new classrooms and have enjoyed getting the updates on the progress of the new build at the weekly meetings with Nigel and Stuart, from Morgan Sindall. Each year some of our children visit Streetwise and this is a charity that supports all children in Dorset and teaches them to keep safe.”
Ian Cardy, senior architect at Dorset County Council who has been working on the Downlands Community School scheme with Morgan Sindall, has been helping the team train. Ian is taking part in a 112-mile mountain stage of the Tour de France a few days ahead of the professional riders, known as the Etape, and so has been providing invaluable advice to the cyclists.
“It has been a privilege to assist the team in their training and preparation for the challenge that they are taking on. I’m used to racking up the miles on the bike as part of my duathlon training, in which I represent the Great Britain Age Group team, so it has been encouraging and heartening in the time I’ve been cycling with the Morgan Sindall team to see their fitness and general cycling skills progress to the level they now have. I wish them well with the ride - an experience I’m sure they will enjoy.”
The company’s charity cycle ride is aiming to raise £10,000 for the LV Streetwise Centre in Bournemouth and the Wessex Cancer Care Trust.
Work at Downlands Community School is due to be completed by November.