Dads bust through fundraising target in 100-mile cycle ride for Laleham Gap School

Shane Elmer and Richard Holden on the fundraising ride

Two determined dads have pedalled past their £2000 fundraising target in their first long distance cycle challenge in aid of children at the specialist Laleham Gap School in Ramsgate.

Shane Elmer and Richard Holden conquered the demanding one-day 100 mile FORD Ride London-Essex challenge on Sunday, May 28.

The novices to long distance riding on their trusty steeds ‘Ronnie’ and ‘Roxie’ clocked up £2,200 in pledges by completing the marathon ride, crossing the finishing line together in a creditable 5hrs 30.50 min.

They said: “As parents to children who attend the school, what better opportunity than to add a tick to the bucket list and raise money to benefit our children.

“It was tough challenge but we had a fantastic time and it was a great feeling to cross the finish line – the big question is, what do we taken on next?”

Laleham Gap is a specialist provision for communication and interaction for children with Autism, speech, language and communication needs.

Since the ride, the Friends of Laleham Gap School charity trustees have met and have decided that because the sensory room is no longer fit for purpose, the funds raised will help the school build a new one with an interactive floor.

There will also be an area where children can link their own devices to play their favourite music when they are feeling overwhelmed and need time to regulate their emotions. Teachers will be able to control this for younger ones or those who do not have their own devices.

Spending charity funds

Lesley Collins, one of the trustees who has two children at the school, said: “Shane and Richard were superb ambassadors for our school and they carried the best wishes of the children, staff, friends and supporters with them.

“The Trustees want to thank everyone who donated and reserve extra praise for Macavis Building Supplies and East Kent Recycling who were our two biggest sponsors.”

She explained how the children are an integral part of fund raising. She added: “We are a ‘Silver UNICEF Rights Respecting School’ and involve the children in everything we do. This includes the spending of charity funds.

“They often come to us with bids they have written and so far we have been able to provide them with all of the things they have requested.

“Some of the things we have been able to provide include silent disco headsets (we have held many silent discos that have been very popular); bouncy castles and other inflatables; hired an ice cream van to visit on the last day of term where children get a free ice cream; a Year 6 bowling trip; leavers hoodies; and subscription to The Beano comic.

“The children also asked to donate to the appeal to support those facing hardship in the Ukraine and also to Sheep Ahoy, a rescue group for disabled sheep.”

100 mile circuit

Shane and Richard began their ride at Tower Bridge on the Victoria embankment. The route headed out of London past the Olympic Park and through the London boroughs of Westminster, City of London, Tower Hamlets, Newham, Hackney, Waltham Forest and Redbridge, before heading out into Essex via Epping Forest.

This circuit of Essex included a section of the route that replicated the 2014 Tour de France stage that went through Essex and finished in central London.

Last minute pledges can still be made online via

The charity trustees are :- Joshua Payne, Katie Reeves, Natalie Hewitt-Zarb, Zara Clark and Lesley Collins.

Find out about the Friends of Laleham Gap School on Facebook  Laleham Gap School online is at


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