Cyclists raise cash for students in South Africa

Cyclists are given a warm send-off at this year’s Thuso Cycle Ride in Waltham Forest

Cyclists turned out in their droves for a fundraising bike ride to help students living in the developing world study by night.

Waltham Forest Thuso in South Africa held its fifth annual ‘Solar Cycle Ride’ on Sunday, September 9, taking participants on a 40 mile journey through the scenic Epping Forest.

Younger cyclists also joined in on the fun, by taking part in a 15 mile ride through quiet roads and woodland tracks.

The charity, which is celebrating 100 years since Nelson Mandela’s birth, buys solar lamps for youngsters living without electricity in South Africa to enable them to study after dark.

Although donations are still coming in from last weekend’s event, organiser Gerard Omasta-Milsom predicts the final amount to reach £2,000.

He said: “Last year, over £1,000 was raised by the cycle ride.

“These funds will have a tremendous impact on the poor communities we support in South Africa, by providing them with much needed solar lights.”

It costs £7.50 for a study light, £15 for a family lantern and £35 for a solar lantern and mobile charger.

Councillor for Wood Street and former Mayor of Waltham Forest, Richard Sweden, along with Thuso chairman, Mmapula Tladi-Small, opened the event, giving the cyclists an enthusiastic send-off from Walthamstow.

Thuso means ‘helping hand’ in Sesotho, one of South Africa’s 11 official languages.

The charity was set up by Waltham Forest Action for Southern Africa, ACTSA,the successor organisation to the Anti-Apartheid Movement locally.