By Victor Alway
For our Fantastic Fundraiser Award we are looking for an individual or group who set out on their bikes to raise money or awareness for a good cause. The amount of money raised may play a part, but this is also about an inspiring story and a genuine commitment to make a difference for or through cycling.
This year has revealed so many everyday heroes that chose to spread kindness throughout the pandemic and turned to their bikes to help raise funds in whatever way they could.
If you know someone; a friend, colleague or club-mate, who has done something truly remarkable in the last 12 months, then we want to hear about it, and if you are a charity or charitable organisation who wants to champion one, or more, of your cycling fundraisers then nominate them for the Fantastic Fundraiser at the Cycling Weekly Awards 2020.
Previous winners of the Fantastic Fundraiser (Best Charitable Initiative)
2019 - Kenny Smith
Kenny Smith has been raising funds for the Multiple Sclerosis Trust since 2002, after his sister, Kathleen, was diagnosed with the condition, which affects the sufferer’s spinal cord. Since then he has tackled an extensive and fearsome list of physical challenges, from trekking to the Machu Picchu in the Peruvian Andes to riding London to Paris twice.
However, since Kathleen died he has well and truly upped his game, his activities becoming increasingly ambitious and including more cycling. In 2019, to celebrate what would have been Kathleen’s 50th birthday, Smith set off to ride round Britain in 50 days, hoping to raise £50,000.
“I kept saying to myself it doesn’t matter what I was going through, it was nothing compared to what people with multiple sclerosis are going through. You have to think of the people you are actually doing it for.”
With his ride coming to an end Smith went out of his way to visit the Letchworth, Hertfordshire, offices of the Multiple Sclerosis Trust. “It was the hottest day on record and there’s a massive fountain at the front of the building and I dunked my head in it, and then one of my contacts said, ‘if you want to get in, get in.’ She didn’t have to tell me twice, so just laid down in it, it was gorgeous.”
“We were all outside cheering,” says Kelly Boston, a senior community fundraiser at the Trust. “To see him come over the bridge was really emotional. Kenny over the years has raised over £200,000 for the MS Trust. This is such an incredible amount of money and could fund four new MS nurses.
“It’s great to work alongside him, and he’s just an inspiration.”
2018 - Jack Talbot
Jack Talbot started fundraising after he was hit by a drunk driver who was trying to escape the police at 50mph.
After sustaining a life-threatening head injury and spending 13 days in a coma, Jack recovered to raise £7,000 for the Air Ambulance.
Jack Talbot is a paramedic and used to dealing with life and death situations regularly. But it was his own experience after being hit by a drunk driver at 50mph trying to escape the police that really made him appreciate the life-saving work of the Great North Air Ambulance. In fact, it is fair to say that his own brush with death inspired him. So, after a period of recuperation, Talbot got back on his bike to try to repay a little of the priceless work the Great North Air Ambulance did for him.
For starters, he organised a coast-to-coast ride for all the cycling clubs near his home in the north of England and, together with 25 fellow riders, he raised over £7,000.
“It’s a pretty classic thing to say, but I really didn’t think I would win,” Talbot said after receiving his award for the Best Charitable Initiative, sponsored by Sports Tours International. “I was just happy to be there, to be in the same room as all those amazing people that I have looked up to my whole life. I couldn’t believe it. To then to go on and actually win the award was crazy.”
As previously, the Cycling Weekly Award winners will be nominated and voted for by you. Anyone is welcome to nominate the individual they feel deserves recognition.
Following the close of nominations at 5pm on 15 October, the Cycling Weekly judging panel will decide on a shortlist of contenders. The panel will be influenced by the strength of the story of the nominee’s dedication and achievement.
On 05 November, we will announce the shortlisted candidates in the magazine and online, sharing their stories and inviting you to vote for your winners online, with voting closing on 12 November.
The winners will be revealed in our online virtual ceremony on 15 December, with guests joining us from around the world. Start nominating!
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