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Rome or Bust!

Friday 13th May 2011 (Andrew Griffiths)
Rome or Bust!

Two intrepid teenagers from Burton will be setting out to cycle from the centre of Burton to the Italian capital of Rome in June in aid of Cancer Research UK.

Chris Betts, (19), from Stretton and George Crossley, (also 19), from Tutbury, will be leaving from Burton’s Town Hall on Thursday 5 June to cycle to the world famous Coliseum in Rome.

Friends at school, and members of the De Ferrers Academy Young Enterprise team, QWERTY, that reached the National Finals in 2009, Chris and George have spent the past two years planning their charity challenge.

“My Mother’s sister, my Aunt, with whom I was very close, was diagnosed with cancer just about the time that we were having our great success with QWERTY”, said Chris, “And so, I suggested to George that we should find another major goal”.

The pair immediately began their planning, but waited until now as Chris won a place at Liverpool University to read Aerospace Engineering, whilst George brought his career plans together to read Drama Performance at Manchester University.

“Our target is to raise at least £5,000,” added George, “And we are looking for sponsorship from our families, friends, acquaintances and contacts to donate generously for continuing research into the causes and the eradication of cancer by this leading charity”.
George and Chris will be undertaking the difficult 1,305 miles to Rome, potentially via the Alps, without any external support and plan to camp en-route. They will be finalising their exact route closer to their departure date, to take into account the prevailing weather and traffic conditions.

They will be posting photos of their progress along their route using the Burton Mail and Facebook.

Burton MP, Andrew Griffiths, launched their effort saying, “I think this is an impressive attempt by two impressive young men. They are literally ‘getting on their bikes’ and raising money for such a great charity. Burton can be very proud of them and I hope the town supports them with lots of sponsorship”.

The plucky pair are in training and preparing to cover a minimum of 60 miles a day with the aim of reaching their Italian destination, barring any mishaps, within four weeks.

“So far, we are hoping that our existing bicycles will get us to our goal. Training runs of our predicted daily mileage show that we are fit enough for the challenge, but we are a bit concerned about mechanical failures along the way”, added Chris.

“At present, we are not planning on bringing our bikes back with us on our 5 July return flight, as we are thinking that they’ll be pretty shot through with another 1,300 miles under their wheels”, continued George.

Chris and George have already set up their own sponsorship page for all donations at and they are inviting the widest possible support for their June challenge.

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