David King’s Fundraising Blog

EVENT: Retrak Chair of trustees takes on fundraising challenge.

AUTHOR: David King.

The Chair of Retrak’s board, David King is setting off on an epic journey from Manchester to Belgium to thank the many churches that support our organisation. From Saturday 13th to Sunday 21st May, David will cycle over 300 miles and visit 19 churches. Catch up on his blog below:

 21st May

I’m back now but here are some low and high points of my week.

Falling down and embankment onto a nettlebed on the wettest day – I had to cycle 40 miles soaked to the skin! Getting lost in the West Midlands.

The high points are too many to mention. Meeting wonderful people at every church I visited who were very interested in Retrak. For example, meeting Ann Start unexpectedly on the Eurostar platform, being shown round a beautiful church in Sandhurst and being prayed for, the nursery group who wanted to see my bike, the Horsham mission group who waited for me.

13th May

We have completed the first day of the bike ride. Seven of us started at Ivy Church at 9 AM this morning and visited 9 churches around Manchester.

South Manchester Family church, Manchester Chinese Christian church, Northern Moor Community Fellowship, Saint Chads, Handforth, Bramhall Methodist, Hazel Grove Methodist, Cheadle Hume Methodist and All Hallows, Cheadle. We where ably supported by Terry Bebbington and Mike Chesterton.

The day started damp and cool but ended fine and sunny. We met so many great people on the way, receiving hospitality, encouragement and financial support. Indeed the financial support on the first day of the trip has taken the total raised so far over 60%, wonderful! There have been one or two changes in my plans. As I have been planning the detailed route the safest and most interesting routes are often tracks and off road. As a result I have decided to take my hybrid bike which is heavier than my road bike and so makes the ride more of a challenge. I will have to leave earlier each day as I will not be able to cycle so fast. The second change was more of a surprise – the ferry I was booked on from Zeebrugge to Hull was cancelled so I have had to re-route and will now be travelling back from Rotterdam. I have checked and think I will not have a problem taking my bike on a train from Belgium to Holland. I am off to the West Midlands tomorrow and look forward to visiting two churches in Wolverhampton before heading to Reading as a base for the following three days. I’ll keep you posted…….

If you want to partner with me in transforming children’s lives please give here. Thank you so much to those who have already supported me.

9th May

I’ve done another two 33 mile practice rides since my last blog. I plan to do one more this week before I go so that I am fit and ready for the ride. I have now arranged meetings at 17 of the 19 churches I will be riding to. Everyone has been so generous with offers of help and arranging to greet me as I cycle round the country. I’m really looking forward to meeting so many new and old friends.

Join me! On Saturday I start at Ivy Church, Didsbury, Manchester at 9am and will be at Bramhall Methodist Church around 1pm so do please cycle with us for some or all of the day If you like. You can also join me for a celebratory curry at 7pm on Monday 22nd May at the Khandoker restaurant in Bramhall (book directly 0161 439 1050 quoting Retrak). A delicious three-course curry is £20 of which £10 will go to Retrak.

Retrak’s strategy includes more advocacy with institutions and governments on behalf of vulnerable children and families. One example of this is our increasing work with the police in Uganda and Ethiopia in areas such as child protection to improve outcomes for street children. Sir Peter Fahy has led on many of these developments and relationships between Retrak and police in those countries are much stronger and constructive than in the past with police now often referring children to Retrak.

If you want to partner with me in strengthening institutions, you can sponsor me here. here. With a week still to go before the ride I am well on the way to my target, thank you so much to those who have already supported me.

27th April

Since my last blog post I have cycled more than 100 miles around Manchester and Cheshire to get myself fit for the ride. I practised the Manchester route and met a lot of very friendly people at Manchester Chinese Christian Church, one of our supporters. I’ve also booked all my connecting rail tickets and discovered that I can get my bike on Eurostar from London to Brussels without taking it apart, phew!

One of the things I admire most is how much Retrak live out our values: excellence, innovation, boldness and respect. In recent years Retrak has been particularly innovative in developing preventative strategies to strengthen families in areas where some of the street children originate from. For example when I was in Ethiopia I meet the ladies of the Hossana self-help group. They “thanked God that Retrak had not given them cash“ but had instead partnered with them to set up the group which is now self managed. One lady told us how she had gained the confidence to go to court to force a local farmer to give her son back. Her son is now working hard at school and able to realise his full potential.

Freelance travel photographer

If you want to partner with me in strengthening families like this you can sponsor me here. With two weeks to go before the ride I am well on the way to my target, thank you so much to those who have already supported me.

18th April

Today I rode 35 miles through Cheshire in two hours 15 minutes. That’s about the same distance as I will cycle between St Michael’s Church, Sandhurst and St John’s Church, Horsham on 17th May.

I have now been in touch with all the churches I intend to visit and have been bowled over by the generous offers of food and accommodation I have received, and all from people I have never met before. I’m really looking forward to meeting so many new friends as I travel around the country.

One of the things Retrak does is to help street children into a caring family environment where they can once again realise their potential and make something of their lives. In Malawi I met a young man who had run away because he thought life would be better in the big city of Lilongwe than living with his mum in a small house in the country nearby. He soon realised his mistake and Retrak staff helped him return to his mum who loved him and to work hard at school. We also helped by giving the mum two goats to help them earn some extra money and she grew vegetables to support the family. When I met him he was as full of life as anybody that age and had dreams of perhaps being a doctor one day. Retrak had given him back his hope.

Seeing the impact that Retrak had on that young man and his mum is what motivates me to fund-raise. Thank you so much to all those who have supported me already, if you have not got round to it yet you can sponsor me here. For those of you who would like a tastier way to support Retrak, I invite you to join me for a celebratory curry at 7pm on Monday 22nd May after I finish the bike ride. The Khandoker restaurant in Bramhall have kindly offered to support Retrak by serving a three course curry for £20 of which £10 will go to Retrak. If you would like to join me then please book directly with the restaurant on 0161 439 1050 quoting Retrak.

9th April

I’ve set up my JustGiving account and already achieved 8% of my £3,300 target, people are so generous. I’ve been in touch with all our supporting churches and received a number of very encouraging responses offering me tea and cake after church in Walsall and organizing an event with African street food in Brussels, wonderful. I’m going to the gym regularly and cycling as much as I can. Today I have been on a 51 mile training ride in Cheshire with my friend Keith Nelson to get me ready for the trip. It’s hard work but to be honest I really enjoy being on the bike. You probably know that Retrak helps vulnerable children by:

1. Helping street children back into a caring family

2. Strengthening families

3. Advocating for children in institutions

Pictured are a group of young men I met in Kampala. Thanks to Retrak, they were able to build better lives for themselves away from the street. They had come back to Retrak to help children who were in the same situation that they had once been. They asked me some hard questions about how we could help street children more. I reminded them that we all have to work in partnership. We help young people to get in touch with families and friends so that they can return to a caring environment where they can realize their potential, something that is not possible on the street. The second part of the partnership is that the children themselves make a great effort to work hard at school and learn skills that will give them a better life in the future. Finally, the third part of the partnership is that governments improve the institutions that help children and also improve their economies so that the children will have improved life opportunities as they grow up.

David King 1

2nd April

I love cycling and helping children realize their potential, so every two years I do a sponsored bike ride to raise funds for Retrak and support their work transforming vulnerable children’s lives. Previously I have cycled from London to Paris and 350 miles across Cheshire, Lancashire and Yorkshire. As I am stepping down from the Board in July this may be my last big ride for Retrak so I want it to have a big impact on the children we work with. Cycling helps to keep me fit and gives me time to think and sometimes pray (with my eyes open!) I have occasionally had answers to prayer about some big issues, usually financial, after a bike ride.

From 13-20th May I am going to combine my fundraising ride with short visits to Retrak’s wonderful supporting churches. Retrak is all about strengthening families and relationships within families. I hope that this trip will help to strengthen relationships with our supporting churches. The 330 mile trip will take me from Manchester to the West Midlands, Chilterns, Somerset and the Home Counties before crossing the Channel to Belgium and then back to Yorkshire. When visiting our churches some local riders will be joining me for a few miles. I will be starting and finishing the ride at Ivy Church, my own fellowship in Manchester.