Representatives from seven schools within The Painsley Catholic Academy (North) cycled 35 miles to raise money for the global charity, ‘Mary’s Meals’.

The two groups of five cyclists began their recent journey at St Mary’s Catholic Academy in Leek and then stopped off at each member school on the route to the final destination, St Joseph’s Catholic Primary school in Uttoxeter. 

Funds are still coming in, but the total raised so far for the event is just over £6,000.

The Painsley Catholic Academy has undertaken the ambitious task of fundraising £100,000 for Mary’s Meals throughout 2020.

A donation of this size will enable the charity to feed the children of Kafumphe Primary School, Dowa, Malawi for the next seven years, ensuring that every child currently at the school will complete their primary education.

“The concept of Mary’s Meals is so very simple and yet effective, it really appeals to our students,” said Steve Bell, CEO of The Painsley Catholic Academy.

“Mary’s Meals is about providing children with a daily meal at a place of education; something that our students of all ages can really relate to.”

The two teams of five cyclists, at least one adult representing each school as a staff member, local governor or parent, included:  Stephen Briggs (parent) and Krzysztof Chrachol (parent) representing St Mary’s Academy Leek; Lucy Ball (parent and local governor) and Peter Lucas (local governor) representing St Giles Catholic Primary School in Cheadle;  Anna Howard, Primary Schools’ Lay Chaplain and representative of The Faber Catholic Academy in Cotton; David Reed, a teacher from Painsley Catholic College;  Jack Huson, a teacher from St Filumena’s Catholic Primary School in Caverswall; Matthew Jones, a teacher and from St Thomas’s Catholic Primary School in Tean. St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School, Uttoxeter, was represented also by a teacher, Rachel Davis, and cycle group leadership and assistance was provided by Mark Swinnerton. 

Bike maintenance and back-up support for the riders was kindly donated by Velorunner in Stone.

Passing and pausing at each school, the cyclists were encouraged by staff and pupils as they rode throughout the school day. Some were seasoned riders, but for others this was a new and daunting challenge as they peddled the steep hills and quiet lanes to Cotton; and then on to Cheadle, Caverswall, Tean and Uttoxeter.

Anna Howard, Lay Chaplain of the Painsley (North) Primary Schools said: “Children and staff have already been incredibly creative and resourceful in raising money, drawing on their skills, gifts, talents and passion to help others in need. Bake sales, fashion shows, raffles, Christmas gifts and craft sales, art shows and sponsored sports events have all helped to build towards the grand total.

"The ‘Miles for Mary’ cycle challenge has brought us together in solidarity with one another. Our school communities have come together to create the teams of riders. Children and staff at each school were united in welcoming us as we arrived and cheering us off again on our next stage of the route. Thanks also to Velorunner in Stone, who gave their professional skills, time and support to the riders throughout the cycle challenge.”

Donations are welcomed to help towards the grand £100,000 target and can be made through The Painsley Catholic Adacemy’s JustGiving page 

Main photo: St Mary's Vice Principal, Rebecca Mellor, performing the Haka aided by year 6 children as the warm-up before the riders set off.

Krzysztof Chrachol and Stephen Briggs (below):

Lucy Ball and Peter Lucas (below):

Rachel Davis (below):