William Price cycling to France for Serge Betsen's charity
Accompanied by his lifelong family friend Robert, a 65-year-old Frenchman, 12-year-old William set off from Twyford Avenue, to start his 1000 kilometre bike ride to Lurcy-Lévis, in the Auvergne region of central France.
William is raising money for a charity set up by former London Wasps player and France legend Serge Betsen. The Serge Betsen Academy was established in 2004, using rugby to help disadvantaged and underprivileged children in his native Cameroon, and bring them access to education.
A group of friends and well-wishers gathered at Twyford Avenue, to see William and Robert off, on a bright, sunny morning.
Shortly before setting off, William said he'd been looking forward to this day for some time. “I'm quite nervous, but I did sleep well last night. I was rather knackered, because we had a party, as it was my mum's birthday! I came here on Friday, and met some of the London Wasps players. They were really encouraging, and it was great to meet them. I'm really excited to get started, and very happy that we're going to be raising money for Serge's charity.”
Robert, a keen cyclist, who's just returned from riding through Ireland and Wales, is just as excited to finally get under way. “It's wonderful to have William doing this ride with me. It's something really special, for a young boy to have the desire to ride one thousand kilometres, in aid of such a great cause.
“While we're in England, he'll be looking after me, as I speak no English. So I'll leave everything with him, until we get to Dover. After that, I'm chef d'd'équipe!”
Amongst the crowd of well-wishers was the man himself, Serge Betsen, who clearly has the highest regard for William. “It's fantastic to see someone as young as William taking on such a challenge and ride all the way to central France with Robert, who's his adopted grandfather. I'm really proud that he's doing it for my charity, which I set up six years ago.
“I'd love to be riding with him, but I've had knee surgery, and I'm not ready to get on the bike now. But why not next year?”
You can keep up to date with William and Robert's progress, by visiting their website, and reading their blog here
July 9, 2011