Mountain bikers raise £4,500 for food bank

A local mountain biking group has raised £4,645 for a food bank after conducting an online fundraiser following the cancellation of an event in Kingswood. 

The group’s upcoming mountain bike event, Heaven of the South, was due to take place in May 2020, but complications surrounding Coronavirus forced the organisers to cancel the event. 

However, the committee involved with organising Heaven of the South decided to make the most of a bad situation, as Jude Rugman explains. 

“It was a very difficult decision to cancel this year’s event, but with all the uncertainty around current lockdown restrictions we thought we needed to make the decision ahead of the event before people started to make plans to travel. 

“We gave the entrants three options on what they could do with their entry fee: they could either donate their fee from this year’s event and get priority tickets for next year, get a refund, or defer their ticket to 2021. 

“We advised them that if they donated their fee then we would make a donation to one of the local Food Banks which we know would be struggling in the current environment.”

The organisers thought that even if they made £200 then it would be something to help support food banks and the members of the population most at risk.

“We gave all participants until April 10 to make their choices, and we were amazed by the results!  

“126 people donated their entrance fee, meaning that we could make a donation to Stroud Food Bank for the incredible sum of £4645!

“We have an amazing mountain biking community here in Gloucestershire, and it’s brilliant to see what a difference we have made in spite of the current climate.”

The 2020 Heaven of the South mountain biking festival would have been the event’s tenth year running, following the inaugural event being held in 2011. 

170 people turned up to ride one of two trails, and £4,000 was raised in support of the Children’s Hospital, to the delight of the organisers. 

In the decade since, over £100,000 has been donated to local charities and sporting organisations, including Wotton Pool, local sports teams and the Great Western Air Ambulance.

Jude added: “We were hoping that this year would have been another mega year for us as it would have been our ten-year anniversary. 

“We will be there next year to carry on where we left off however; onwards and upwards to 2021!”