Date Posted... Sep 6th 2022
A huge congratulations to Aimee and Lara who have just completed their charity bike ride from Lands End to John O’Groats. The girls cycled a gruelling 900 miles to raise more than £2000 for two amazing charities, The Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust and Truro Fencing Club Gold.
Lara wanted to support the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust, which offers sailing sessions to young people going through cancer treatments as a way to help them to gain confidence and community. As a competitive sailor herself, Lara wanted to broaden the appeal and reach of the sport and help others as well.
Aimee is a fencer at Truro School Fencing Club and wanted to raise money for TFC Gold as it helps those who wish to access the sport of fencing, but might need additional funding or support to do so. Aimee discovered fencing after struggling to access some more traditional sports. Her mum explains, “Aimee can’t see in her left eye, so [some] traditional sports were hard but she’s been able to achieve Team GB status with fencing due to excellent coaching and the nature of the sport that also works well for people with neurodiversity.”
Both Aimee and Laura returned home to some excellent GCSE results, achieving almost all 8s and 9s across the board. They will be staying at Truro School for Sixth Form. Lara will be taking Biology, Chemistry, Maths and Further Maths, and Aimee is taking Physics, Maths, DT and Leith’s.
We managed to catch up with Lara before the start of what is set to be a busy term for this amazing pair:
Firstly, congratulations on your amazing challenge. Was there a point where you thought you might not be able to complete it?
Thank you so much! Perhaps one of the toughest moments came on day five. This was our first properly long day, initially clocking in at around 72 miles, it was more than 20 miles more than we had done previously, along with also being hilly. Initially, we were delayed by almost two hours by a mechanical problem in the morning, but the biggest blow came when we were faced with two unforeseen road closures which ended up adding almost 10 miles to the route. As we sat in a Tesco car park near Chepstow eating lunch at 16:00, I remember optimistically telling Aimee “we only have 15 miles left”. Turned out it was closer to 30. When we finally arrived at our youth hostel, we were exhausted, having spent almost 12 hours riding. Knowing that we were less than a third of the way through (in distance), that was probably the point where we thought we might not be able to complete it.
What was the biggest challenge going into the trip?
Going into the trip, we were both mentally prepared for some tough days in the saddle. Having said that, I don’t think we were prepared for how big some of the hills were going to be! The biggest challenge for us was definitely the hills (or in some cases, mountains), which slowed us down, and really made the legs sting, especially when they came at the end of a long hard day.
What was the highlight of the trip?
Personally, my highlight came crossing the Cairngorms Mountains. Aimee can vouch that I was quite miserable riding through the cities, so getting out onto these wild and remote roads in the mountains: I finally felt back in my element. We also crossed some awesome bridges, including the River Severn Bridge and the Old Forth Road Bridge, both of which were amazing experiences.
What do you think helped you most in your success?
We were extremely lucky with the weather. We barely encountered rain, nor did we have a headwind at any point. Had it been raining the entire way, it definitely would not have been very fun! The amount of support that we received was also incredible, and really motivated to push through the tougher moments. The generosity of people really shone through, on the fundraiser, and also in real life, friends and family who let us stay and strangers who gave us words of encouragement. Some particular mentions go to my parents – Tom and Nicola, who were in the support car and drove all the way to John O’Groats and then back to Cornwall. And to Aimee’s parents, Paul and Ros, for their amazing advice, their constant support from the very beginning, and also for spreading the word worldwide – bringing in so much support. Without them, we would never have had this opportunity.
Do you have anything else planned or are you going to take a well-deserved rest?
We have nothing planned currently, we’re both training hard for our sailing and fencing competitions, along with starting studying for our A-levels this term. But I’m always dreaming of what’s next– so watch this space!
Well done to both girls, we are extremely proud of you both and look forward to your next adventures!