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Revd Douglas Burnett’s 3 Cities Challenge for Theirworld

Revd Douglas Burnett (right) riding for Theirworld

We want to say a very big thank you to Revd Douglas (Dougie) Burnett, who recently completed the 3 Cities Cycle Challenge on behalf of Theirworld. After months of training and fundraising, on the 8th June Dougie finally rolled out from Crystal Palace and out into rural Kent towards Dover. Over the next 4 days, Dougie took in the picturesque villages of France, peddled through the stunning Belgian countryside and skirted along miles of Dutch canals before eventually ending in magnificent Amsterdam. Dougie has been kind enough to share some of his experiences with us, which you can read below.

So it is done.  I have cycled from London to Bruges to Amsterdam.   It was just under 400 miles in four days.  Several months of training, and rather a lot of time wearing lycra, has all been worthwhile.   It was my latest adventure in the past few years for Theirworld.  Previously there has been the London to Paris bike ride, RideLondon, and an open water swimming race in Loch Ness.  I suppose that this was in many ways the most demanding thing I have done so far, certainly it has involved the greatest distance.   With all such adventures you can often start out with niggling thoughts such as, “What if I get lost?” And also, “What if I get a puncture?”  To be honest that one really bothered me as the last time I had to change a tyre was in 1979 in Glen Coe!   But as you start out those niggles start to disappear.   You form friendships as you cycle along.   You offer each other encouragement. The adventure starts to become fun.  Well, fun in places.  Over those four days things start to ache rather a lot.  Padded shorts can only help so much.   Then there was my knee, and not forgetting my shoulders.   There was rain one day, sun burn the next.   But special memories linger.   Like cycling out through the Surrey hills, and suddenly being aware that a Spitfire was flying just overhead.  There is something special about knowing that you have cycled through four different countries in the same number of days.  Cycling through Holland there was the magical moment when while rolling through the Dutch polder and by a windmill, that a flock of wild geese came and flew alongside us.   And then cycling in convoy, all 80 of us, into Amsterdam.

Whenever you are doing something like this you always think to yourself, “Never again!”   The immediate aftermath, you still think, “Never again!”   But once your recover you start to think, “Well, maybe…”   There is that incredible sense of achievement and what you have raised for charity.   So if you are thinking of taking on some adventure for Theirworld I would say, give it a go! It’ll be fun!

If you want to take part in an event for us like Dougie, please do contact us by emailing [email protected]. In the past  our fundraisers have successfully participated in RideLondon and the Great North Run. Sponsorships are still coming in for Dougie’s challenge and so far he has raised a fantastic amount – so once again a big, big thank you to Dougie!


All funds raised will support research, community investment, innovation in education and learning, campaigning and advocacy – all to make the lives of the most vulnerable children better and brighter.