INTREPID staff, parents and former pupils at Princethorpe College have celebrated its 50th birthday by making a pilgrimage to France – by bike.
They visited the Loire Valley to ride between the towns of Issoudun and Montargis – which both have historic connections with the college.
Issoudun is the town linked most closely to the Catholic college’s founding fathers, the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart, while Montargis is the former home of the Benedictine nuns who fled France in the French Revolution to build the priory in which the school is now housed.
The 18 cyclists and their supporters travelled to France by coach and cycled the 120 miles over two days, with a rest day in between in the beautiful hilltop town of Sancerre.
Over the course of the challenge the cyclists encountered extreme heat, monsoon-like rain, plentiful punctures and their fair share of aches and pains.
They travelled along country roads and canal paths, through lush meadows and poppy fields, beside the beautiful Loire and up steep hills in order to complete the challenge – the end of which was marked by a civic reception hosted by the Mayor of Montargis.
Headmaster Ed Hester said: “120 miles in two days is no mean feat and all the pilgrims deserve to be congratulated.
“There was a fantastic camaraderie on the trip, which really epitomised Princethorpe’s spirit of family.
“We were received most warmly by the French people, who were fascinated by the challenge and our links to the two towns.”
The cyclists have already raised over £2,500 in aid of their chosen charity, Mary’s Meals, which sets up school feeding programmes in communities where poverty and hunger prevent children from gaining an education.