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Road 2 Rouen riders from St Joan of Arc School return to Rickmansworth
Pupils lined the streets of Rickmansworth on Monday as a group of novice cyclists returned victorious from a gruelling 250 mile charity cycle challenge.
The Road 2 Rouen ride saw seven members of staff and parents at St Joan of Arc School safely return to the school on High Street on Monday (October 15) having ridden to Rouen in northern France and back.
Along the way they overcame hail, mechanical failures, wrong turns and even losing their support vehicle for several hours.
Organisers had set themselves an initial target of £5,000 but - having already beaten that with money still coming in - Liam Lynch, chaplain at the school, said he now hopes to double the original goal.
He said: "We smashed my target and the money is still rolling in which is so pleasing.
"We made it back on time to a fantastic reception on Monday afternoon, the whole school was lining the streets and it felt more like the Tour de France.
"The ride was good but just to be a part of something like that and feeling the whole community come out to support you is amazing.
"By the time we got back on Monday everybody was so happy to be home."
The money raised will be donated to Udayan children’s home in Calcutta, India - a charity that helps support 300 children, many of whom have parents suffering from leprosy.
The school has been fundraising for the charity since March 2004 and has bought bunk beds for the kids to sleep on, sent teachers to teach English and stocked their library with books but for the first time the money will be handed to the centre’s management to do what they think is best.
Mr Lynch said: "It has been a case of almost making apologies for asking people for money but it seems the tougher times the more generous the people are.
"Many of the people who have donated to me are friends with young families and not too much money to spare so I have been amazed by people’s generosity."
Headteacher Peter Sweeney, Mr Lynch, English teacher Mark Mclaughlin, PE teacher James Simpson, Maths teacher Matthew Walsh and parents Paul D’Urso and Brian Reilly were waved off early on Friday morning (October 12).
Following a brief stop off at St John’s School in Mill End, which is also supporting Udayan, the riders headed south.
A six hour cycle saw the riders make it down to Portsmouth in the first day but the team found their ride through northern France beset by terrible weather, making arrival in Rouen a welcome site.