Cape-to-Comrades cyclist aims to help disadvantaged pupils

2012-05-07 00:00

A TOUGH physical challenge with an altruistic angle.

Greg Perrett, a local financial planner, is raising funds for Grace College’s Learner Enhancing Advancement Programme (Leap) by riding his bicycle from Cape Town to Pietermaritzburg in time to run the Comrades.

Leap, which started in 2004, benefits disadvantaged pupils from rural schools around Sweetwaters and Lions River.

Each year it gives two of thechildren the opportunity to be enrolled in Grade 8 at Grace College and to finish their high school careers there.

Perrett said: “I initially saw it as a nice personal physical challenge, but with all the effort that I was putting in, I thought, ‘Why not raise some money?’”

He has been involved with Grace College for seven years and has chaired the governing body for six of those years.

“I saw that the Leap children were doing well in the school and I thought, ‘Imagine if you can give an opportunity like that to a child, what can they achieve?’

“It touched my heart.”

There are two key requirements for children to be accepted into the Leap programme; they have to come from seriously disadvantaged families, often from single parent homes, and they must have great academic competence.

The school offers mentor programmes to help the children become more integrated in the school.

The ride will take Perrett nine days, starting on May 25, and he will be cycling alone without any support cars.

Over the 1 656 km ride Perrett plans to arrive in Hilton on June 2, in time to run the Comrades Marathon the following day.

“I wanted to make it difficult so that I could show people what I am sacrificing for this and hope that they would sacrifice in return.

“If the physical side was just a walk in the park, people would say that I’m just having a joyride.”

A devout Christian and devoted family man, Perrett admits that while he is normally not afraid of physical challenges, this one scares him.

But he added that he wanted to make this an annual event for Grace College.

“There are a lot of logistical and practical issues that need to be worked out, but making this an annual event in which the children participate creates a sustainable funding for Leap.”

Perrett’s progress can be followed on Facebook or his blog graceleap.blogspot.com.

• tharuna.devchand@witness.co.za

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