14 June 2011
A determined student cycled from London to Paris to raise money for the British Red Cross – in thanks for the help his family received following the tragic death of his father.
David Nolan (21), from Ipswich, lost his father William five years ago when a pleasure boat sank in Bahrain. The civil engineer, who died alongside 57 other people, had been celebrating the completion of the Bahrain World Trade Centre.
Following the tragedy, Red Cross psychosocial support volunteers flew out to Bahrain to give support to survivors and the families of those killed. These highly trained volunteers are regularly sent – along with Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) rapid deployment teams – to help Britons caught up in crisis overseas. They were recently deployed to both Calais and Libya.
Tribute to father
David said: “After my father’s death the Red Cross were just fantastic and a huge support to our family, especially my mother. They gave us the opportunity to talk about how we were feeling, but also helped us with the practical side of things such as helping us arrange to return to the UK. I’ve never forgotten their support and it was always in the back of my mind to raise money for them.”
So, five years on, the university student decided to honour his father’s memory by cycling more than 300 miles in four days with three friends. This was all the impressive when you consider he isn’t even that keen on bikes.
As David recalled: “It was a spontaneous decision as I am not really a cyclist at all. I did a lot of training in preparation including a 100k ride, which was tough. I also went to the gym a lot and did spinning classes. I wanted to be in tip-top shape so I could give it my all.”
Joined by three friends, David set off from Greenwich on 1 June with 50 other cyclists for the ‘Across the Divide’ challenge. First they cycled to Dover before boarding a ferry to Calais. Finally – tout alors! – they ended up sweaty and proud beneath the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
And it looks like all those cramps and aching muscles were worth it. David and his friends have already raised more than £7,000. But feel free to give a little more.
Raise money for the Red Cross