Craig Pollard (Mathematics 1998) will be cycling 12,000 miles over 30 countries in Europe, the Middle East and Africa for charity.

Alumnus leads group across Africa in charity bike ride

Craig Pollard (Mathematics 1998), his wife Loretta, and the rest of the Cycle Africa team have recently quit their jobs and will be leaving London on Sunday 7 August 2011 to cycle 12,000 miles through 30 countries in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, arriving in Cape Town, South Africa 12 months later.

The team will be visiting projects which support street children along the route and they are working with the leading street children organisations to raise to raise awareness of the issues these children face.  The group will also raise a significant amount of money for these projects. 

"The motivation behind Cycle Africa is pretty simple, we want to challenge ourselves but to go at a pace that allows us to meet people and to see the countries through which we're travelling.  It would be much easier and quicker to go by bus or motorbike but the team is aiming to have a much richer experience."

"When we tell people that we’re quitting our perfectly good, decently paid and enjoyable jobs to cycle from London to Cape Town with a small group of friends, people tend to respond in one of two ways.  The first group look a bit puzzled; they use words like ‘ridiculous’ and ‘dangerous’.  We politely outline what we’re doing and quickly move on to safer subjects, however tempting it is to mention at this point that we’re going through the Sinai Desert, Sahara Desert, the Nubian Desert, and many other such places without a support vehicle, just to add to their terror." The second group get it. They are enthusiastic and a little envious, they get that life is short, that jobs are just jobs, that life is out there to be experienced, and they want to join us or help in whatever way they can.  Thankfully most of our friends and family (with a few exceptions) have fallen into this group!"

You can find out more about Cycle Africa and follow the team's progress by visiting the Cycle Africa website or following them on Twitter (@cycleafrica).  You can even join the team for the first day of the expedition as they cycle from London to Brighton on Sunday the 7 August.  Visit the website to register and find out more.  Craig and the team would be delighted to have fellow Exeter alumni join them for this first leg.  They are also keen to meet up with alumni living elsewhere along their route.  Contact Craig if you would like to join them, or just meet up, along the way.

Craig Pollard studied Maths at Exeter and graduated in 1998.  He went on to work in Nigeria with Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO), before returning to the UK and training to be an accountant with KPMG.  In 2003 he realised he wasn't that interested in Maths or Accountancy and retrained as a charity fundraiser.  He has since raised more than £15m for the social care charity Turning Point, the African Medical & Research Foundation (AMREF) and the University of London's School of Oriental and African Studies.

Date: 5 May 2011

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