Whilst most of Britainis were glued in front of the TV on Sunday 23 July to see the climax of the centenary Tour de France with Chris Froome winning the overall race and sprinter Mark Cavendish just missing out on the sprint finish on the Champs-Élysées, a team from Swindon had cycled over to Paris for a ringside view.
Eighteen athletes from the Les Slinn Fitness Centre departed Swindon on 17 July to make the trip, and thanks to a competition in the February Link magazine, they were raising money for Swindon Guide Dogs.
Above, Allez l’Equipe Les Slinn, from left, Pete Berry, Liam Guest, Andy Willis, Ian McCabe, Nicola Chapman, Les Slinn, Adrian Quinton and Mandy Pilsworth
At the time of departure the team had raised £3,000 towards their target. “We’re aiming for £5,000 to fund a puppy to be trained as a guide dog; I’m confident we’ll get there,” said Les. “We’ve had great support from a lot of people including shoppers at Asda Walmart in North Swindon and also Tesco in Octal Way where we cycled a static bike.”
He added that the whole team were keen to exceed their target after the death of Joy who was the companion of Alan Fletcher, the chair of Swindon Guide Dogs. “She was the sweetest animal you could imagine," said Les. "Loosing must have been very difficult for Alan, so we’re inspired to do well by the charity.”
When the riders arrived in Paris their bikes were secured safely so they could watch the first ever night time finale of the Tour followed by a giant party with the hundreds of thousands who turn out.
Before depature Alan Fletcher said: “Swindon Guide Dogs for the Blind would like to thank Les Slinn and his All Star team for raising money in their London to Paris Cycle Event.
“They’ve worked hard over the past few months with static cycle rides to help them raise the money and also their fitness. We wish them all the best for the ride.”
“Guide Dogs rely solely upon donations to help visually impaired people to get back their mobility, freedom, independence and confidence.”