THE “Grandads Army” had once again taken to the road for this year’s Rob Burton Memorial Ride, a stamina-sapping four-day 1 160-km ride to Stellenbosch via Middelburg, Willowmore and Swellendam. The relay teams, comprising of 13 cyclists, aimed to raise funds for the Eyabantwana Trust.
The Grandads Army comprises of three groups of relay teams, namely, “the Army, the Navy and the Air Force”, is also commemorating the lives of Rob Burton and Arthur Salzwedel who lost their lives during a training ride.
The gruelling trip kicked off from Caltex Beacon Bay at 05:30 on Sunday, 8 October 2017 and saw 13 cyclists make their way through to Middelburg via the N6. The three teams collectively completed the daunting 300km cycle challenge, arriving in Middelburg at 16h00 on Sunday afternoon.
Day two of the Rob Burton Memorial Ride from East London through to Stellenbosch ensured the Army, Navy and Air Force cycled their hearts out just to remain warm. The three groups ventured from Middelburg through to Willowmore along the N9 in 4-degree weather on Monday, 9 October.
Even though it was cold and miserable, spirits remained high and were further fuelled by some Seattle Coffee and breakfast during a quick stop at College Motors in Graaff Reinet. The day warmed up to “toasty” 13 degrees before arriving in Willowmore late afternoon.
The team set off early on Tuesday, 10 October for the third leg that will take them to Swellendam.
In the first and second year, more than R500 000 was raised for the Eyabantwana Trust. This year the group of riders is hoping to raise over R250 000 which will go towards the much-needed burn-surgical equipment for the paediatric patients at the Frere Hospital and the Cecilia Makiwane Hospital based in East London.
“We have a steep fundraising hill to climb, but we are confident that the Eastern – and Western Cape communities will once again support this great cause,” expressed ride organiser Dr Colin Lazarus, an East London Hospital Complex Paediatric Surgeon and one of the original members of Grandads Army.
Caltex Eastern Cape Marketer (CECM), the official fuel sponsor of the support teams, commended the Eyabantwana Trust for their dedication in raising awareness and funds to assist burn victims in the Eastern Cape.
“The money raised by the Grandad’s Army has become a beacon of hope for so many burn victims in the Eastern Cape. Our young children are particularly vulnerable, with burn injuries claiming many young lives each year.
As a major role player in the Eastern Cape fuel industry, we at Eyabantwana Trust, take our responsibility seriously and believe that through awareness, preventative campaigns and ensuring that proper care is given to burn victims the effects of this scourge could be greatly reduced” said Clive Berlyn, CECM CEO.
The event is organised by the East London-based Eyabantwana – For the Children Trust. To ensure all fundraising proceeds go fully and directly to the organisation, riders and support teams cover all their own costs leading up to and during the event.
The Grandads Army was expected to reach Stellenbosch on Wednesday, 11 October 2017.