A student is tackling a gruelling 156-mile one-day cycle ride to support a homeless charity in Cowley.
University of Oxford medical student Thomas Cranshaw, 21, is preparing to cycle from Paris to Roubaix for charity Emmaus.
He will attempt the one-day 250km route dubbed “The Hell of the North” to raise £1,000 for the charity on Saturday, August 16.
Mr Cranshaw said he wanted to support the charity after being moved by the struggles of the city’s homeless people.
He added: “There is a stark contrast between the lives of most Oxford students and those of the homeless and at risk that can be easy to ignore.
“I wanted to both increase awareness and raise money for a great Oxford charity and I chose Emmaus specifically as a locally acting charity.”
The route is one of the oldest cycle routes in the world, first attempted in 1896.
It features in the Tour de France and its distance, rough terrain and cobblestones often force competitors to drop out.
But Mr Cranshaw, who is from High Wycombe, is determined to take up the French challenge.
He completed the Midlands 100km Tour of the Black Country bike ride in May in preparation for this month’s challenge.
Mr Cranshaw is aiming to complete the route in 12 hours Emmaus, which is based in Oxford Road, Cowley, has been supporting residents at risk of homelessness since March 2009.
Emma Watkins, 36, has received help from them for the last five years and currently lives in the charity’s Oxford Road housing development.
Miss Watkins had been battling a 20-year heroin addiction and four years of homelessness before receiving the charity’s support.
She said: “Without Emmaus I might be dead right now. It seems extreme but it’s a possibility. There’s nothing else like Emmaus in Oxford. There are vulnerable people who are not getting the right help.”
Currently on a methadone treatment program to curb her addiction, she said the team provides her with the structure and support needed to lead a drug-free life.
She added: “Five years ago people wouldn’t have recognised me.
“I’m a different person now and that’s a lot of thanks to Emmaus.”
To sponsor Mr Cranshaw, visit virginmoneygiving.com/parisroubaix
- Do you want alerts delivered straight to your phone via our WhatsApp service? Text NEWS or SPORT or NEWS AND SPORT, depending on which services you want, and your full name to 07767 417704. Save our number into your phone's contacts as Oxford Mail WhatsApp and ensure you have WhatsApp installed.
11:20am Monday 28th July 2014
What do you think? We welcome letters from our readers on a wide variety of subjects and you can send us a letter through the blue headline above.
Our top stories
9:00am Friday 30th January 2015
THE family of man who escaped a mental hospital, fled abroad then hanged himself in a prison cell have said he was let down by Oxford Health.
12:06pm Thursday 29th January 2015
SNOW has been forecast for Oxfordshire over the weekend and a yellow weather warning is still in place for today.
7:33pm Friday 30th January 2015
A HEADTEACHER at an Oxford primary school has claimed she is getting “fobbed off” by Oxfordshire County Council over questions about delayed construction work at the school.
4:14pm Friday 30th January 2015
A WOMAN charged with the attempted murder of a hospital patient today appeared in Oxford Crown Court.
3:50pm Friday 30th January 2015
A MAN has been accused of fraudulently pocketing £4.8m from the assembly and services division at the Mini plant in Cowley.
Oxfordshire County Council chief executive Joanna Simons to stand down in June - and will not be replaced
1:10pm Friday 30th January 2015
OXFORDSHIRE'S biggest local authority will scrap its top unelected position as part of a radical shake-up to save costs, it was revealed today.