In July 2013, Will Irlam and his friend Marcus decided to cycle from London to Edinburgh in order to raise awareness and much needed funds for The Climate Group. At over 650 kilometers, it was an arduous undertaking, but a rewarding experience, Will explained to Alana Ryan, Assistant Digital Editor. Almost a year on from the cycle, Will reflects on his motivation and shares some tips for prospective fundraisers in the interview below.
- What led you to pick The Climate Group as your charity of choice? Was there any aspect of our message which particularly resonated with you?
Marcus and I are strong supporters of the 'green movement' and although we couldn't go as far as to say that we are activists, we strongly disagree with how the human race has treated - and currently is - treating our planet. For me the most important thing is sustainable living, and if there is going to be any kind of future for generations to come we simply can't keep going the way that we have done to date.
We wanted to raise money and awareness for a forward thinking organization like The Climate Group that understands what is needed for mankind to live without exhausting our planet’s resources. We came across The Climate Group online and learned a bit more about the ‘Clean Revolution' and what you are doing to turn the 'dream' of sustainable living in to a realistic future. That gave us the motivation to tackle the Edinburgh trip.
- Why do you think it’s important to support the low carbon economy?
The low carbon economy resonates with us as it reduces pollution in a viable, economical and sustainable way. This would have a positive knock-on effect not only for our environment and all the living organisms on the planet, but for our future and the safeguarding of it.
Will and Marcus with The Climate Group CEO Mark Kenber
- Have you always had been a cycling enthusiast, and was the training very intense?
Well we both have pretty different bike histories and approaches to cycling...
Marcus got me in to cycling about a year before our ride to Edinburgh. It was something I had long thought of doing because I hated having to take the tube at rush hour - but it wasn't until I lived in a shared flat with Marcus that I actually got around to getting a bicycle! Since I started cycling I've lost weight and given up smoking pretty much and just feel like I live a much healthier life all together. I would now recommend it to anyone who wants to get fitter; it’s so much easier that going to the gym and it’s actually a productive use of your time. I’d even go as far as to say cycling is now my main interest, well aside from playing with my band ‘The Ha'pennies'. We’re working on an album at the moment and so currently that’s taking the bulk of my free time.
Marcus has enjoyed cycling from a very young age and in his words: “Has never thought of not cycling”. Like me, it’s his main mode of transportation because it’s quick, economical and (despite all the problems this year with cycle accidents) safe. There’s no missing Marcus in his bright blue lycra clothing and lights lit up like a christmas tree - if MAML is ‘Middle Aged Man in Lyrca’ then Marcus is well on his way!
As for training, we did very little, much less than we intended. We do both cycle at least 12 miles a day to and from work, but we always planned to do bigger day rides out of London. Unfortunately, we never got around to it. We also intended to stop drinking – but we didn't. In fact, we had a little fundraising drinks party at a pub we both work at the night before we left and were both pretty hungover for the first few miles.
- What advice would you give to future fundraisers based on your own experience?
Whatever it is you’re doing keep going, and of course enjoy it!
Social media is a great way of keeping people updated with what you’re doing and helps to raise awareness for the cause. We created a Facebook page alongside the JustGiving page and we updated both regularly with photos and info about the ride. Keeping people interested is an important factor if you want people to donate to your cause and I think it definitely helped our pot! The drinks party I mentioned earlier was also a good little earner, having a pot on the table and get a load of mates drunk - there were tenners going in by the end of the night!
If you are interested in supporting us you can either contact our Fundraising Development Manager Sarah Parrish at SParrish@TheClimateGroup.org or you can donate directly to The Climate Group through our Just Giving page: