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Gravesend school in charity cycle race to Belgium

PUBLISHED: 15:00 02 March 2016 | UPDATED: 15:00 02 March 2016

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Staff and students from St John's Catholic Comprehensive leave for Ypres on March 24

A Gravesend school is set to take part in a fundraising cycle race from Gravesend to Belgium.

St John’s Catholic Comprehensive is organising the race from Windmill Hill War Memorial, to the heart of the Belgian battlefields in Ypres, to raise money for the Royal British Legion and Help for Heroes.

21 students and staff from the school will leave at 9am on Thursday, March 24, bound for Dover.

They will cross the Channel to Dunkirk where they will stay over night before continuing their journey to Ypres.

On the Friday, they will first cycle to Vlamertinghe Military Cemetery where a Good Friday Service will be held.

The final leg will take them along the cobbled road to Ypres where they will be greeted by a group of locals and ex-pats, headed by Jan Durnez the Mayor (Burgomeester) of Ypres and Chaplain Brian Llewellyn, St George’s Memorial Church.

The group accompanying the cyclists includes mayor of Gravesend, Michael Wenban, and head, Matt Barron.

The cyclists will arrive at St George’s Memorial Church, Elverdinghestraat, at 2pm where they will be greeted by the guests.

Colm Murphy, acting history, government and politics department leader at the school, said: “This is an opportunity for 6th Form students to show their appreciation and respect for all those killed and wounded in the Great War.

“The cycle from Gravesend to Ypres will give all those involved – staff and students the time to reflect on the conflict.

“Along the way we shall have a Good Friday Service at Vlamertinghe Military Cemetery that will be most appropriate as the focus of the service will be on sacrifice.”

Mr Barron added: “To have this opportunity for students and staff is a great honour for all concerned.

“It certainly highlights the Mission Statement of the School that focuses on self-sacrifice and service to others.

“The school is at the heart of the community here in Gravesend and our Catholic ethos will certainly be reflected in this cycle for charity.

“I am proud to be Headmaster at this time and on this occasion of such an event.”

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