A GROUP of 18 cyclists are seeking to raise £175,000 for the charity the Message Trust by riding 900 km across Canada.
Among the group embarking on the challenge next month is Andy Hawthorne, the CEO of the charity. Speaking last week, Mr Hawthorne said that, at the moment, it “feels like a big challenge”, and that it was also equivalent to a “marathon every day”.
The group will face 10,000 m of climbing on their 913 km route from Banff National Park to Vancouver, where the Message Trust has recently opened a new hub.
Mr Hawthorne said that there were three aims for the bike ride: “To get fit; to have a real quality time of fellowship, and have a laugh; and to raise the money for the charity.”
He continued: “When you push your body to the limit, you can spend some important time with the Bible. It is a privilege.”
The other 17 riders are mostly made up of business supporters of the Message Trust, but Mr Hawthorne’s son is also taking part, as is Gary Smith, who is the charity’s UK hubs director.
He said: “I’m really hoping we can smash the target [of £175,000]: we’re on schedule for it at the moment. Beautiful things will happen on the back of it. We have a hub in Vancouver now; so to finish the journey there makes a lot of sense. We have a great team there.”
The money will go towards setting up eight new EDEN teams: missionaries who work in deprived areas of the UK; building a new Message Bus, a mobile youth centre; and towards developing their work with prisons and ex-offenders, by launching a new enterprise centre outside Manchester.
Mr Hawthorne said: “This is one of the toughest things I’ve ever done, but I’m doing it because I love the Message, and want us to be able to tell more of the least, the lost, and the last about Jesus. I’m really excited about the opportunities that are opening up for our ministry at the moment, but we need the finances to be able to seize these.”
Read our interview with Andy Hawthorne here