All Roads Lead to Leeds weekender raises almost £50k

Saints Foundation/Fundraising and Events/Benali on Tour 24'/Image_26_hgiwyl

With just under a week since both the Big Bike Ride and Benali on Tour met to see a victorious Saints at Elland Road, fundraising stands at almost £50,000!

Just under 300 miles cycled over four days, 24 miles of trekking with 1,585 metres of ascent in one day, and almost £50,000 raised for the work we do in Southampton.

Our Big Bike Ride team set off at 9am Wednesday morning from St Mary’s knowing in just over 72 hours they would be pulling into Elland Road ready to cheer on the Saints against Leeds.

With ride leaders Ben Gregson and EFL Community Champion Phil Dunn leading the way, our brave cyclists took on country paths and main roads alike through Didcot, Leicester, Barnsley, and everything in between with just the one puncture along the way.

The most welcoming rest stops in town halls, cricket clubs, churches, and tearooms; We met wonderful hosts up and down the country, even bumping into Saints fan Tim in Tickhill, South Yorkshire.

Arriving in Elland Road huge applause and congratulations from Saints and Leeds fans alike, our bike riders then showered up in a gym across town before a hasty cab ride back to the home of Leeds United.

As things stand, our hero Bike Riders have raised £8,000 for Saints Foundation, you can still donate and support them as they deserve every single penny for a monumental achievement:

24 hours earlier, as our bike riders set out on their longest day departing the King Power Stadium, Benali on Tour were starting their march across the Three Peaks.

Over the course of the next 12 hours, Franny Benali and the team would hike up steep inclines across 24 miles. Stickers plastered across the iconic Yorkshire mountains as the team conquered each peak.

The conditions on the day were much more generous than the forecast, with the predicted rain only coming by the time our Saints were descending the final peak while, and the thick fog that descended for the previous peaks didn’t hide the beautiful views.

Franny spoke to former Saints Goal participant Peter as a reminder of what it was all for. When Pete started on our projects, after being diagnosed with long COVID, he said he 'couldn't even walk 20m'. Yet he was one of our incredible hikers who made it to the top of every peak.

Over Pen-y-Ghent, Whernside, and Ingleborough; Despite the initial jubilation of reaching the third peak, a longer than expected final descent, and walk to the finishing point delayed celebrations slightly.

However, when the finish line was reached, Franny was delighted to be able to gift all our participants with commemorative display map made by Ordnance Survey complete with Benali on Tour sticker and signature from the man himself.

With shakey legs, but a grand sense of achievement, the Benali on Tour team would meet the Big Bike Riders the very next day to watch the Saints in a victorious display against Leeds United.

Franny and the marching Saints were able to raise an incredible £40,000, meaning the All Roads Lead to Leeds weekender raised a grand total of almost £50,000 to help support the work we do in the community of Southampton.

You can still be in that growing number by donating to Benali on Tour: