A Warwick teacher inspired by watching the selfless actions of aid workers in bomb-torn Syria is to undertake a year-long cycle challenge - and give up booze all for charity.
Darren Walden, who lives in the town and is the deputy headteacher at a school in Rugby will pedal 5,480 miles in 365 days for the British Red Cross.
He said: “My inspiration has come from a few different directions but my drive to raise money for the British Red Cross originally stemmed from watching the documentary ‘The White Helmets’ about a group of volunteers who rescue civilians from their bombed homes in the Syrian city of Aleppo.”
“Those that know me well know I like a drink or two or three.
“Last year I gave up alcohol for 125 days so this year I’m going the full hog- 365 days on the wagon.
Last year he rode 4,000 miles.
Now Darren’s goal is to cycle 5,480 miles, the approximate distance from his home in Warwick to the conflict stricken Syrian city of Aleppo, and back again.
As a keen cyclist he is no stranger to physical challenges.
In May he, along with a small group of friends, completed the Fred Whitton Challenge, a gruelling 112-mile route in the Lake District, a ride which is widely recognised to be the hardest cycling sportive in the UK.
Darren who has so far raised £856 and is nearing his £1,000 target, added: “Raising money and getting people to donate is sometimes difficult, but hopefully I can do my part to help make the lives of others in the more challenging parts of the world a bit better.”
Alison Davies, Headteacher of The Avon Valley School and Performing Arts College,in Rugby said: “Darren has set himself a very tough challenge with the aim of helping people in need.
“Earlier this year he shared his goal with students and staff during assemblies in which he explained how seeing images of suffering motivated him to raise funds.
“We all wish him good luck.”
According to the British Red Cross website the Syria conflict is now in its seventh year and more than 13 million people are in need of help.
Over 6.3 million people have fled their homes because of fighting and another 4.9 million now live as refugees in neighbouring countries and beyond.
The Red Cross and their partners the Red Crescent aim to provide food, shelter and medical care to the people who need it most.
Anyone wishing to donate can do so via the Just Giving website: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Darren-Walden1