On Sunday 28th May 2017, six members of the Company and two guests embarked on what we believe to be the first Tylers and Bricklayers charity cycle ride.

The ride was organized by the Master – David Szymanski, and participants included two Past Masters – Dr George Bird and Piers Nicholson, two Court Assistants – Simon Martin and Professor John Schofield, and Liveryman and Past Clerk – Barry Blumsom. Friends of the Master – Phil Rollason and Fiona Phillips, also took part.

The team were superbly supported by Tom and Caroline Rider who provided a base to start from and finish to – their home, excellent food and drinks, and moral support. The Mistress, Hilary, kindly drove the support truck with great skill, aided by Tom, and ensured that we all got round safely.

The Master had chosen the 42 mile route very carefully to ensure that it was not too difficult for those who were relatively inexperienced cyclists. Unfortunately, this proved not be the case, as on the day the hills were long and demanding. The beautiful Kent countryside helped to distract the riders from the inevitable pain, but it was necessary to have a few breaks for everyone to catch their breaths. Everyone managed to reach the pub at the 35 mile point, where we enjoyed a well deserved lunch and drink.

Following this refreshment, everyone cycled the last 7 miles back to Tom and Caroline’s house.

At 83 years old, Piers gave a sterling effort on a bike that weighed a little short of a ton. In many ways the ‘star’ of the show was George Bird. George arrived in his very cool V8 6.5litre Chrysler engined Bristol, only to open the boot and reveal a fold-up Brompton bike complete with small wheels and only three gears! Togged up in cycle helmet, long trousers, summer shirt and cycle clips, George set off with gusto. No one expected him to last more than 5 miles, but to George’s great credit he completed the whole 42 mile route without the need for any assistance. George is nothing short of a hero!

It was decided before the ride to raise sponsorship money for the Charity of the Year 2017/18 – The Clink Charity. I am delighted to report that £1600 was raised, which is a great result.

Hopefully this event will be repeated at some time in the future, as it was great fun in a good cause.