Findon school governors complete 160-mile bike ride

Findon school governors have followed in the footsteps of Charles II in a bid to raise money for the PTA and teach the children more about the area’s history.

Thursday, 3rd June 2021, 11:00 am

A team of cyclists from St John the Baptist Primary School followed the Monarch’s Way for a 160-mile bike ride from Wincanton in Somerset to Shoreham via Findon.

It took five days and pupils were able to follow their progress to learn more about this ancient trail, the route travelled by Charles II after his defeat at the Battle of Worcester as he fled to France, pursued across England by Oliver Cromwell’s Parliamentarian army.

Hundreds of pounds have been raised, thanks to parents, villagers and other kind well-wishers who have sponsored the ride.

Findon school governors at St John the Baptist in Findon with a picture of King Charles II

John Roche, chairman of governors, said: “Covid-19 restrictions have deprived the school of two years of summer events that normally raise money to enhance the children’s education. This funding is especially important this year when children need all the help they can get whilst returning to normal life at school.”

The team, including governors, ex-governors and other friends of the school, set off on Friday, May 28, and followed the last part of the ancient route, which passes through Findon and over the South Downs to Shoreham.

Mr Roche said: “Travel bred adventure for us all but thankfully no disasters, outside of a few mechanical failures. Our collection of riders completed our bike ride from Wincanton to Shoreham, following in the footsteps, or horses’ hooves, of Charles II during his escape to France in 1651.

“The mainly off-road ride went via Salisbury to Winchester and Rowlands Castle in Hampshire before following downland trails to Findon. Here, the riders received a cheery welcome from the entire school, safely gathered in the playgrounds, to spur the riders to complete the last part of the journey to Shoreham, via Brighton.

Arriving at St John the Baptist Primary School, where the cyclists had a warm welcome

“For the school, the trip was also part-educational as the pupils were encouraged to plot riders’ progress daily and gain knowledge of the history of this event and the geography of the route.”

To support the Monarch’s Way Ride and donate to St John the Baptist Primary School PTA, visit www.justgiving.com/stjohnfindon-pta or use the collection boxes in Findon Post Office and Peckhams Farm Butchers.

The cyclists at Winchester
Arriving in Shoreham at the end of the 160-mile ride along the Monarch's Way