cycling nut Callum Donaldson is close to completing a marathon ride to New Zealand in aid of Tearfund, he embarked upon with his cousin James Couper in August last year.
Both are primary school teachers, Callum taught at Church Crookham Junior School and James taught maths at Amesbury in Hindhead, and they have taught at several schools during their epic journey, including International Gateway Academy in Istanbul, Kathmandu International Study Centre and Chiang Rai International Christian School in Thailand.
Callum, from Grayswood, said. “We started our cycle in August 2016 with the rough plan of getting to New Zealand and a rough idea of a route,”
“We’ve been cycling about 12,000 miles through all kinds of terrains, climates, altitudes and cultures,” he told The Herald.
“We’re doing this mainly because we want to see more of the world and meet more of the people of the world. We would also love to raise some money for those in the world who are in far greater need of it than we are.
“Tearfund are a Christian charity who work in lots of countries doing whatever it takes to end poverty and rebuild poor communities.
They also help in the event of disasters, be them natural or man-made. The aid they provide for disasters is specifically what any money donated to us will be going towards.”
Callum’s mother Clare told The Herald: “We are going to Australia to meet them in Cairns at the end of July and we are very excited because we haven’t seen them for a year.
“They send us a GPS signal most nights so we know where they are and they contact us when they can.
“They found India challenging, it was very hot and they only had a 30 days visa so they cycled hard a long way. Myanmar, formerly Burma, has only recently opened its borders and they couldn’t stay with local people as it is against the law, but could stay in monasteries.
“They set themselves a budget of £5 a day and have managed so far.
“They have a tent and a little stove that uses petrol for cooking. They took letters of intent written in as many languages as possible to show local people they are not suspicious.
“They are both keen cyclists and have biked through France and Germany together on summer holidays, but have never done anything on such a big scale as this. They are cycling the eastern side of Australia before flying to New Zealand for the last stretch.
“Callum has been offered his job back at Church Crookham and so they will back at the end of August.”
• Donations at:www.just giving.com/fundraising/James-Couper1