From 15th to 22nd September, Martin Cowell of Cowell’s Garden Centre in Newcastle, is cycling 900 miles passing through seven countries to help celebrate his 50th year and to raise vital funds for two of his favourite charities: Greenfingers Charity and True Colours Theatre CIO Foundation.
Starting in his hometown of Newcastle and ending at the International Garden Centre Association congress in Italy, his Tyne to Rhine trip will be an unsupported solo ride. The route mainly follows the EuroVelo 15 – The Rhine Cycle Route is one of the most modern cycle paths in the world and combines Europe’s diversity of landscapes. Over 900 miles (1440 km) it’ll take Martin through seven countries from the shipyards on the Tyne to the source of the Rhine in the Alpine village of Andermatt in Switzerland. From there, he’ll head on up up up over the alps into Italy, ending at Lake Maggiore 8 days later.
One bike, 900 miles, one daft Geordie and two amazing charities. True Colours Theatre (Registered Charity Number: 1192136) is an inclusive theatre school for children and young people living in the North East of England. Many of their members have additional needs such as Autism, ADHD, anxiety disorders and physical and life limiting conditions and various mental health issues. True Colours Theatre provides a caring, warm and welcoming environment, a place of acceptance and inclusion where members can grow in confidence without fear of judgement or stigma. Greenfingers (Registered Charity number: 1076640) aims to provide all life-limited children, their families, and carers, within their hospice, emotional support through the power and pleasure of nature. They create beautiful, well-designed outdoor spaces for children to enjoy with their family, friends and siblings, whether through play and fun, or therapeutic rest and relaxation. Greenfingers Charity is driven by the belief that time spent outdoors, away from the bedside, can offer children and families under considerable stress a vital opportunity to embrace the benefits of being in the fresh air and engaging with the natural environment.
Martin Cowell said: “For my 40th year, I celebrated by cycling from John O’Groats to Lands’ End and completing my Geordie JOGLE fundraiser. Ten years later, it seemed fitting to create a new fundraising challenge and so the Tyne to Rhine was conceived. My daughter currently accesses classes available through True Colours Theatre, so it is very close to my heart. Greenfingers Charity is another wonderful charity creating magical, therapeutic gardens for life-limited children and their families in hospices. It would be wheelie terrific if you could chip in and push me along with whatever you can afford. Every penny makes a difference. I’m aiming to raise £10,000 and my intention is to split your kind donations 50:50 across the two charities. For whatever you can give, thank you very, very much”.
Linda Petrons, Director of Fundraising and Communications of Greenfingers Charity said: “We can’t thank Martin Cowell enough for choosing Greenfingers as one of the charities to benefit from this incredible 50th birthday challenge. I am sure his determination and passion to make a difference will see him achieve this cycling feat of endurance. And we hope that his friends, and ours, will dig deep and support him as he makes the very long journey to the finish line on the banks of Lake Maggiore”. Follow his journey on Instagram @TynetoRhine and share your support #TynetoRhine