Monday, 13 February 2012

Olympic challenge for Air Ambulance

Photo 1: L-R, Olympia to Olympics cyclists Canon Ed Condry, Cliff Saffrey, Velia Coffey, Mike Robinson, Ebrina Vogelaar-Kelly and John and Tina Downie outside Canterbury Cathedral.

A dozen cyclists are gearing up for a bike ride from the birthplace of the Olympics in Greece to the London 2012 stadium to raise at least £50,000 for Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance.

Canon Edward Condry, Canon Treasurer of Canterbury Cathedral, and his Olympic torch-bearing son Jerome will be among the riders taking part in the challenge.

They will set off on their 1,500-mile journey from Olympia on June 30th and cycle through Italy, Switzerland and France before they arrive in Stratford on July 15th - just days before the games get underway.

The other riders are Canon Condry’s son Felix, Paul Barrett, Kevin May, Cliff Saffrey, Velia Coffey, Ebrina Vogelaar-Kelly, Mark Nugent, Michael Robinson and John and Tina Downie.

Canon Condry said: “We are all now beginning our training in earnest. We are so looking forward to the ride but the heat will be the biggest challenge.”

The group, from Canterbury, will cycle an average of 100 miles a day and will be monitored as part of a scientific study by Dr Damian Coleman of Canterbury Christ Church University.

He will be testing all the riders and giving them individually-tailored training programmes to maximize their fitness.

His findings will be used as part of a university research project on the effect of extreme exercise on the human body.

The most gruelling part of the ride will be a 6,909ft climb at Gotthard Pass over the Alps in Switzerland.

The group of experienced cyclists, aged from 21 to 62, have previously completed charity bike rides from Canterbury to Rome and London to Paris.

Among the group are riders who have cycled to Istanbul and Santiago and from Lands End to John O’Groats. They have also rowed the English Channel and the full length of the River Thames.

This year they are raising funds for Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance which relies almost entirely on public donations. Canon Condry is a County board trustee for the life-saving charity.

To sponsor their 2012 challenge visit

or to visit their website go to

Local businesses and organisations interested in becoming a corporate sponsor should contact Ed Condry at

The team has already been sponsored by Canterbury Cathedral, Canterbury Christ Church University, Barretts of Canterbury and Chigwell Construction.

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