By Chris Thompson, Ski Famille MD
A couple of years ago I took my eldest daughter to CarFest South. We had a fabulous day out. One of the highlights for both of us was time spent at the Flying Seagull Project tent.
The Flying Seagulls are an extraordinary bunch of entertainers who radiated energy and enthusiasm. Any child within earshot or line of sight was drawn in and joined the fun. Parents looked on for a while waiting to move on to the next attraction … but then got sucked in to play games, attempt tricks and enjoy general silliness.
Once back home I reached for Google and discovered an even more inspiring side to their endeavours. The Flying Seagull Project is a charity. They work and fundraise to then set up camp where children are in desperate need of happiness, smiles and play. In their own words “We aim to give those in need the opportunity to play and laugh and to plant a seed to let their happiness grow.”
They have worked with partner organisations in Europe, Asia and Africa to help deliver new (or frustratingly rare) experiences. They help children to run around, play new games, share a joke and forget, for a moment, the sometimes desperate backdrop to their daily lives.
I quickly decided that I wanted to raise some money for The Flying Seagull Project. Soon after I saw them I cycled across the UK from Cumbria to Northumberland and considered raising sponsorship for that trip. It was a jolly though; I’d always wanted to do the C2C ride and it didn’t feel like a hard enough challenge.
In December last year I made the mistake of sharing my thoughts regarding a charity challenge with Ski Famille Head of Ops Kirsty. Any idea I came up with was deemed “too easy” or “a bit of a cop out”. Someone then suggested cycling between all of the Ski Famille resorts … we can’t quite remember who; I blame her, she blames me. It was, however, deemed a hard enough challenge.
Egged on by our Resort Managers the plan was agreed. We would both cycle from Les Gets to Les Menuires (Reberty/Bruyeres) and then on to La Plagne. The distance is around 260kms, the vertical climb approximately 5,500m and we had three days available. Kirsty was also more than happy to support The Flying Seagull Project.
My wife and children have endured a summer of me disappearing every other day to find hills to ride up. I quickly realised my bike was as incapable as me of getting up an “Alp” so a new steed had to be purchased. I bathe in Voltarol gel and my dreams are filled with gut wrenching visions of the gradient and distance signs on the roads to Les Menuires and La Plagne.
We set off from Les Gets on the 30th September.
To find out more about our ride please visit: www.justgiving.com/2017alpineadventure
To learn more about The Flying Seagull Project visit: www.theflyingseagullproject.com