Tandem ride supports new women’s refuge

Rue and Kieron's IOW Tandem Cycle Challenge
Rue and Kieron's IOW Tandem Cycle Challenge

Two tandem novices have made a circuit of the Isle of Wight by bike to support Safe in Sussex.

Rue and Kieron’s IOW Tandem Cycle Challenge saw Rupert Franklin from Eastbourne and Kieron Woodland from Burgess Hill pedal 68 miles in five hours.

Rue and Kieron's IOW Tandem Cycle Challenge

Rue and Kieron's IOW Tandem Cycle Challenge

The £1,500 raised will help fund a new refuge that Safe in Sussex is opening in Littlehampton early next year.

Louise Gisbey, the charity’s fundraising and marketing manager, said: “We currently deliver the Freedom Programme in Littlehampton, which is free for any woman to attend who wishes to learn more about domestic abuse, the tactics used by abusive people and the effects domestic abuse has on children.

“Additionally, we deliver healthy relationship programmes into primary and secondary schools across West Sussex. We have delivered these to schools in Littlehampton and are currently delivering one of our programmes into a primary school in Rustington.

“Unfortunately, Safe in Sussex is unable to help all those in need and is planning to open a third refuge in Littlehampton and to develop a crisis information and advice centre to provide early intervention to women.”

Rue and Kieron, who have been friends since the first day of infant school, made a few wrong turns on their ride but hope their effort will have the right effect, by raising awareness for the women’s refuges.

While Rue is a keen cyclist, Kieron had not cycled anywhere since he was seven and neither had ever ridden a tandem before training for their ride.

Rue, a social worker, said: “In my role, I have been privileged to have met many incredible refuge support workers, seen the valuable work that they do and the positive impact these services have on the lives of women and children who seek their help.

“Whilst it was tougher than we expected, Kieron and I were really happy to do something to support their work and raise money so that more can be provided to families in need.”

Rue and Kieron were training on the South Downs for a few months, slowly building up miles and confidence on a second-hand vintage tandem.

Kieron, who works in Worthing, said: “When we were planning this ride, I felt nervous and wasn’t sure that I could even remember how to ride a bike, but I was keen to challenge myself for an important cause and have been overwhelmed by everyone’s support and generous donations to Safe in Sussex.”

Safe in Sussex is a lifeline to women and children affected by domestic abuse and currently runs two women’s refuges in Worthing.

The charity has 40 years’ experience in helping women to break free from violence and abuse but it is constantly looking at innovative ways of working, helping at the earliest point before family breakdown and crisis.

All too often, the charity finds that women seek support when their situation has become extremely dangerous and after violence has been inflicted.

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