Angus Watson (Governor):
“Ever since the building of Preston Primary’s new main hall, I’ve wanted to find more and more ways to enable it to be used as a sports and social venue by the School and the local community. One thing the hall lacks is a permanent projector and screen to enable films or sports footage to be displayed, but I’ve always known this would be expensive.
On resigning as chair of governors after many years at Preston Primary, I thought it would be great to find a way to do a fundraising activity to achieve this aim. And, having held an ambition to one day cycle the width of Britain, I discussed this with Mrs Winters and we realised we could use the Coast to Coast to raise money for the projector.”
Katie Simpson (PTA):
“The idea for a school cycle event began in May 2011 when I entered my dad and I into the Kanalrittet cycle event in Norway for his 60th birthday. At 56km the event was long but very sociable, involving many stops to eat delicious Norwegian pastries, chat and enjoy the views and the company of Norwegian friends.
With this in mind I was waiting for the right opportunity, and this came along at Christmas 2011 when I met Angus Watson, one of our school governors, at the PTA Christmas party. He told me about his plans to cycle the Coast to Coast and raise money for the school. Between us we hatched the idea to combine the Coast to Coast with a school cycle event where the kids would become involved. Our aim was to raise enough money to buy a new projector for the school hall.
In September 2012 I enlisted the help of Vicky Fawcett of Stockton Borough Council, who overwhelmed me with talk of public liability insurance and risk assessments. However, she assured me all would be fine and was kind enough to supply SBC items for goodie bags for the kids. In addition, many other organizations offered their help and services for free: Preston Park Museum and Grounds development manager Nick Smith was happy to host the event and offer prizes. The Hub and Sustrans provided their expertise as well as supplying extra bikes for those who needed them. Paul Curran, a two-times Commonwealth gold-medallist cyclist, of Blackhawk Bikes agreed to open and finish to event and give out prizes to the children. Graham Reeves, events manager at Stockton Borough Council, supplied staff and two large gazebos and tables. GLG Cycles and Skinnergate Cycles kindly provided more fillers for the goodie bags. Cleveland Police attended and post-coded the children’s bikes and JJS First Aid Training provided a qualified first aider on the day. Finally, Warbuttons for supplying the buns for the hotdogs.
Tuesday, 9 October, 2012 turned out to be a lovely sunny day and the two courses were set out, one 250-m loop around the bandstand area and a 1-km loop around the showfield for the more capable cyclists. The gazebos were assembled very quickly and filled with cakes, sweets and hot dogs as well as a registration and first aid point. After a short briefing, Paul Curran sounded the air horn and the cyclists were off, led out by the weary legged Angus Watson and some guide cyclists from Stockton Borough Council. The children had half an hour to complete as many laps as possible. The Evening Gazette photographer captured the children’s smiling and determined faces as they cycled around the course, cheered on by friends and family and the marshals who kept them on track. When the event was over the children collected their goodie bags from Paul Curran and enjoyed a well-deserved rest and some food and drink.
All in all the event was a great success – the children thoroughly enjoyed taking part, many local businesses came together to help out, the weather was glorious, and we were amazed to learn that over £2,000 was raised by Angus and in sponsorship by the children.”