Club News

Former City skipper to embark on cycle ride for Ukraine

Former City skipper Sylvain Distin will form part of a team of 10 cyclists attempting to ride 1,300 km from Sandbanks in Dorset to St Tropez in France in just 10 days.

The international pedal-powered challenge, which kicks off on 18 May, is believed to be a world first, and every penny raised will go towards the Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal. 

“I like to push myself and see what I’m capable of, although I’ve never taken on anything quite as big as this before,” said Distin, who now lives in Poole.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing what we can achieve all together as a team… and enjoying St Tropez once we’ve crossed the finish line!” 

The self-funded mission which includes a support team of two, was the bright idea of Bournemouth local Will Irons, inspired by childhood memories of holidays in St Tropez, and brought to life with his brother-in-law Dave Taylor, a Poole-based business consultant.

Taylor explains: “We have all been touched significantly by the tragic and shocking events unfolding in Ukraine and want to help by supporting the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) to provide food, water, shelter and healthcare to refugees and displaced families.” 

For their fellow teammate Jemma Harding, a shepherdess who lives in Wimborne, the two-wheeled expedition is more than just a physical challenge – it’s about overcoming an accident that changed her life. 

Jemma was involved in a collision with a lorry while she was riding her bike in London, and needed 12 hours of emergency surgery. 

“I didn’t know if I would be able to walk or cycle again,” she said.

“After the accident, I moved back home to Dorset to recover, I got stronger and stronger, and I just knew that I would get back on a bike one day. I didn’t want to let what had happened defeat me.  

“It's going to be really tough, but it is for a really important cause, and I have every confidence in our amazing team.”  

People wishing to sponsor/donate Sylvain please see below.


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