Mission Complete: Originally due to take place in March 2020 but postponed due to lockdown, Lord Burlington and his team completed their epic 208-mile cycle ride around Derbyshire’s county boundary on 12th September, raising awareness and funds for Foundation Derbyshire.
I have been overwhelmed by the support from donors and well-wishers. As I cycled around the county, it gave me time to reflect on all the amazing work that Foundation Derbyshire is doing throughout every village and town, and just how vital the voluntary sector is in society today – especially in this time of such uncertainty.
I want to thank the incredible team of cyclists I rode with and our support team en route – Bob Smith, Julian Mack and Tommo Thompson.
In March 2020, our most recent former High Sheriff, William Burlington, was due to undertake an epic 208-mile bike ride in one day around the Derbyshire County boundary, raising awareness and funds for Foundation Derbyshire as he went.
The ride was put on hold due to lockdown, but we are now delighted to say that he and his team completed their mission on 12th September.
Lord Burlington was joined by a team of experienced cyclists with strong Derbyshire connections: Alison Fovargue, Michael Kirkland, Assistant Chief Constable Paul Gibson of Derbyshire Constabulary, Professor Andy Hooton of the University of Derby and world record-breaking endurance cyclist and mental health campaigner, Leigh Timmis.
The team were fuelled by stop-offs along the way and treats from the Bridge Bakehouse in Whaley Bridge and the Chatsworth Estate Farm Shop.
Starting in Sudbury at 4am they cycled for 13.5 hours at an average speed of 15.5mph. But the day took 17 hours in total because (in addition to brief stops for food) they also completed a radio interview and even climbed through a tree that had fallen across the road. Thankfully there were no punctures or mechanical problems.
During the 208 miles (30 miles further than Derby – Brighton), the team ascended over 4,500m/14,585ft of vertical ascent just over half the height of Mount Everest.
Starting in Sudbury, the circular route took Lord Burlington through Whaley Bridge, South Normanton and Swadlincote.
Derby-based Huub, who are already so supportive of sports in Derbyshire, donated bespoke jerseys for the ride, which they also helped design.
Like the High Sheriff role, Foundation Derbyshire serves the entire county and hopefully this cycling challenge reflects that.
Foundation Derbyshire is the county’s community fund and supports our vital voluntary and community sector in towns and villages throughout the county. In my time as High Sheriff I witnessed first-hand the positive impact that Foundation Derbyshire’s grant funding is making to the quality of life of people all across Derbyshire.
As we circumnavigated the county, we were able to showcase the breadth of impact that the Foundation has, by highlighting some of the amazing groups and organisations it supports.
Anyone who identifies with Derbyshire will identify with Foundation Derbyshire and by donating to their fund your money will be making a difference for many years to come.
To get to the required level of fitness Lord Burlington has been helped by the experts at the University of Derby’s Human Performance Unit, which provides sports science services to individuals, coaches and teams wanting to enhance their performance.
At the HPU we help athletes at all levels to improve, be they students, staff or people from our region.
Dr Tom Outram, Senior Lecturer in Biomechanics and Performance Analysis.
This was a Herculean undertaking and we are delighted and humbled that Lord Burlington and his fellow cyclists supported us in this way. Over the past twenty-three years, we have distributed over £16 million to local voluntary groups and organisations, but there is still so much more to do.
There are many ways to support the bike ride, from making a donation, to becoming a Foundation Friend or simply spreading the word and we hope that people will be inspired to get involved and to help us.
Rachael Grime, Foundation Derbyshire’s Chief Executive
Lord Burlington was High Sheriff of Derbyshire in 2019/20. The office of High Sheriff has existed for over 1000 years and whilst the duties of the role have evolved over time, supporting the Crown and the judiciary remain central elements of the role today.
In addition, High Sheriffs actively lend support and encouragement to crime prevention agencies, the emergency services and the voluntary sector.
We sit down with William to reflect on the journey so far
In this video William visits High Peak CVS, to find out more about their vital work in the community
William calls in at SNaP Youth, a group aiming to inspire young people in South Normanton
William arrives at CVS, a charity working to improve the quality of life for people in South Derbyshire
William visits Life Cycle UK, a cycle refurbishment charity that trains prisoners to be mechanics