Backing sought for charity ride

JOHN EDENS
Last updated 05:00 29/11/2013
charity bikers
JOHN EDENS/Fairfax NZ
Sophie Stevens and Pete Oswald expect tough monsoon conditions when they cycle around Sri Lanka to mark the 10th anniversary of the devastating Boxing Day tsunami.

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A Queenstown couple need a helping hand to raise money for an 1500-kilometre charity biking venture circumnavigating Sri Lanka.

Pete Oswald and Sophie Stevens plan to bike around the island to mark the 10th anniversary of the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami and raise money for a preschool.

They start their epic cycle trip exactly a decade after the tsunami that killed an estimated 230,000 people in 14 countries.

The time frame is 24 days to circle the island and visit the preschool, cycling an average of 63km a day.

The Karaveddy Pre-School in the Batticaloa region in the eastern province needs a rigid, watertight roof to replace its single-layer leaky tin and tarpaulin roof, which does not stand up to much in monsoon season.

Embroiled in civil war for decades until tensions eased in 2009, the region was one of the worst-hit during the 2004 tsunami

They are aiming to raise $2500 through charity Ocean Stars Trust, which was set up in 2005 to assist victims of the tsunami in Sir Lanka, and will be hosting an auction night in Queenstown.

Oswald, a free skier, and Stevens will self-fund the trip with sponsorship by R&R Sport, which supplied two Giant bikes, and Icebreaker clothing. 

Oswald said he expected the trip to be a hard slog during monsoon season.

"It was Sophie's idea to do the whole of Sri Lanka, it's a stopover that turned into a major expedition."

A fundraising night and auction kicks off on December 4 at No 5 Church Ln in Queenstown, with drinks, tapas, guest speakers, auctions, a raffle and prizes.

For more information and details on how to donate, visit justgiving.com/bikesrilanka

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- The Southland Times

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