Charity Cycle Race - Gravesend to Ypres by St John's Catholic School 3rd July 2016
Mr Colm Murphy, Acting History, Government and Politics Department Leader, of St John’s Catholic Comprehensive School is organising a fund raising cycle race from Windmill Hill War Memorial, Gravesend, Kent, to the heart of the Belgian battlefields, Ypres. The money raised will be donated to The Royal British Legion and to Help For Heroes. 21 students and staff from the School will leave the Windmill War Memorial at 9.00am on Saturday 2nd July bound for Dover. They will cross the Channel to Dunkirk where they will stay over night before continuing their journey to Ypres. On Sunday 3rd they will first cycle to Vlamertinghe Military Cemetery where a Good Friday Service will be held. The final leg will take them along the cobbled road to Ypres where they will be greeted by a group of locals and ex-pats, headed by Jef Verschoore the First Deputy of the City of Ypres and Chaplain Brian Llewellyn, St George’s Memorial Church. The group accompanying the cyclists include Matt Barron, the Head of School. The cyclists will arrive at St George’s Memorial Church, Elverdinghestraat, Ypres, at 12.30pm where they will be greeted by the guests. A reception followed by a buffet lunch will be provided in the Church Hall behind the church. At 4.00pm the School group will be guided on a battlefield tour by popular WWI author, Paul Foster, who lives locally in Kemmel, south of Ypres. The day will be completed when the group attend the Last Post Ceremony at 8.00pm and lay a wreath. Colm Murphy said: “This is an opportunity for 6th Form students to show their appreciation and respect for all those killed and wounded in the Great War. The cycle from Gravesend to Ypres will give all those involved – staff and students the time to reflect on the conflict. Along the way we shall have a Good Friday Service at Vlamertinghe Military Cemetery that will be most appropriate as the focus of the service will be on sacrifice.” Matt Barron said: “To have this opportunity for students and staff is a great honour for all concerned. It certainly highlights the Mission Statement of the School that focuses on self-sacrifice and service to others. The school is at the heart of the community here in Gravesend and our Catholic ethos will certainly be reflected in this cycle for charity. I am proud to be Headmaster at this time and on this occasion of such an event.” The British Ambassador to Belgium, Alison Rose, kindly sent a message of support and congratulations to the School (see below).