Church hosts virtual cycle ride for emergency services

More than 60 people of all different ages, backgrounds and fitness levels who live in the Falconwood community have been gathering at Bishop Ridley Church to take a turn in cycling, on exercise bikes, the 874 miles from John O’Groats to Lands End.

The challenge was part of the Ridley Bear ‘999’ Appeal, which has been running since September. The Appeal is led by leaders from local youth organisations including guiding, scouting, Bishop Ridley Primary School and Bishop Ridley Church. This year’s Appeal is raising money to say thank you to our emergency services.

Ridley Bear Appeal Co-ordinator David Snow said:
“With the anniversaries of the sad events which took place in London and Manchester last year, we wanted to recognise the bravery and commitment of those who work in the emergency services and say a big ‘thank you’. All our cyclists have done a fantastic job in cycling such a long way. It’s a big task but everyone has pulled together. Even one of the local safer neighbourhood teams at Bexleyheath Police station took part as a cyclist and it was really fitting to see the Rev Mark, the vicar at Bishop Ridley Church, get us across the finish line on Sunday.”

Mark Tariq, Vicar of Bishop Ridley Church, said:
“We made it! It’s been great having our friends and family from the local community coming into the church to work towards achieving this massive goal. David has done a great job in motivating everyone and pulling the whole Appeal together.”

Fundraising events from the Ridley Bear Appeal have been taking place since September and have included a fitness class, a sleepover in the Church, cake sales, a cinema evening, a quiz night, a big band concert and a non-uniform day at the School. The final event - an evening with actor & entertainer Samuel Haughton - will take place on Friday 13 July.

As well as these activities, Ridley Bear mascots wearing specially knitted emergency service uniforms representing Fire, Ambulance or Police services are available for sale. More than 260 have already been sold. Supporters have been posting photos on social media of their Ridley Bears in various locations both locally and around London and also from as far as Australia, the Philippines and Barbados. Bears have also been spotted with local paramedics and police officers.

Speakers from the emergency services are also visiting the children’s groups to teach them more about their work.

The Appeal will run until the summer and the target is to raise £4,000 to be split between the London Ambulance Service Benevolent Fund, the Fire Fighters Charity and the Metropolitan & City Police Orphans Fund.

Malcolm Cooper, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Metropolitan & City Police Orphans Fund, said:
“We appreciate the excellent work and commitment you have shown and continue to show to this cause. It is very humbling to know that our families are in others’ thoughts and I know it is very much valued.”

You can follow the Appeal’s progress (and the adventures of Ridley Bear) on the ‘Ridley Bear Appeal’ Facebook page..

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