Queen Eleanor Cross cycle challenge hopes to smash fundraising record for homelessness charity

Two-hundred-mile ride from Nottinghamshire to London, via Northamptonshire, set for August bank holiday

Wednesday, 17th March 2021, 4:53 pm
Updated Wednesday, 17th March 2021, 4:54 pm

A 200-mile cycle challenge following the Queen Eleanor Crosses from Nottinghamshire to London, via Northamptonshire, hopes to raise £30,000 for a homelessness charity.

Last year's Queen Eleanor Cycle Ride, which goes through Geddington and Northampton, raised more than £22,000 for The Connection at St Martin's.

So far, 17 people have signed up for the three-day ride over the August bank holiday weekend, which organiser Keith Wright hopes will raise even more funds.

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Challenge riders Keith Wright (left), Iain Dibble (centre) and Henry Laprun next to the cross in Geddington with Lisa Wilkinson from the village who provided some refreshments

“As someone who doesn’t need to worry about having a roof over my head nor food to eat, I am very proud to be able to support those who go out and help homeless people to rebuild their lives," he said.

The route visits the site of all 12 Queen Eleanor Crosses erected by King Edward I soon after the death of his wife Queen Eleanor just outside Lincoln in 1290.

The beautiful memorial crosses were built at the site of each overnight stop of the funeral procession as they travelled back to London with her body.

The majority of the crosses were destroyed during the English Civil War, left to decay or plundered for building materials, but three remain.

A group of cyclists and supporters at the Queen Eleanor Cross in Northampton during a previous challenge

Starting in Harby, the cycle ride heads to Grantham, then Stamford and then Geddington, where one of the three surviving Crosses still stands in the centre of the village.

Northampton is up next see the cross on London Road, before Stony Stratford, Woburn, Dunstable, St Albans – all with crosses long since gone.

Then Waltham Cross, the third of the surviving crosses, and onwards to Cheapside, Charing Cross and Westminster Abbey - the home of Queen Eleanor’s tomb in the shrine of St Edward the Confessor.

Fellow organiser Keith Busfield said: "I once hit a 'bump in the road' of life - out of a job and desperately looking for somewhere to stay.

"Someone close to me said, 'there's always The Connection'. Thankfully things turned themselves around and life moved ahead positively. I was genuinely lucky.

"Fate played it's part when over 10 years ago a friend asked me to cycle 200 miles to support the homeless and the fantastic work the The Connection do to help people off the streets of central London.

"This August bank holiday weekend I'm doing it all again! If you could spare the cost of a meal, a bed for the night, even a haircut, it will help greatly to turn someone's life around."

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