A disabled man from Oxford is set to raise thousands of pounds for a local charity when he rides a tricycle from Oxford to Paris in May.
Francis Delaney, who has cerebral palsy, will spend six days covering the distance of 220 miles with four of his friends, and hopes to arrive in Paris in time to celebrate his 40th birthday on 9th May. In the process, the team hope to raise a significant amount of money for Yellow Submarine, a charity that works to help those with learning disabilities and autism.
Mr. Delaney will complete the whole trip on his Pashley Tri-1 tricycle, heading south through Reading and Guildford to Newhaven harbour on the South coast. Having taken a ferry across the channel, the “Tour de Frambo” team of Mr. Delaney and teammates Derek, Jason, Pete, and Ellen, will complete the second half of the route from Dieppe to Paris.
Mr. Delaney told the Oxford Mail: “It will be hard but it will be fun. It will be a challenge for me to do it. I’m feeling nervous but I’m looking forward to it.” Mr. Delaney is not averse to challenge, and has a record of successful fundraising. In March of last year he raised over seven hundred pounds for Yellow Submarine, in a sponsored swim at Ferry Leisure Centre in North Oxford. For the upcoming event, the team have already raised a similar sum during an event at the Kite Inn in West Oxford.
Mr Delaney notes that he does not let his disability dominate him: “I am disabled but I am more independent than some disabled people. I want to just put back in the local community.” Yellow Submarine combines activities and support for those with learning disabilities with employment opportunities at their café on Park End Street.
Ranking as the third best café in Oxford on Trip Advisor, Mr. Delaney is a regular amongst the 30,000 visitors to the Yellow Submarine café each year, and Activity Leader Kate Sankey said: “Francis is an inspiration and a real character – he’s always popping into our cafe, and we’re so grateful that he’s chosen to take on this amazing challenge in support of Yellow Submarine. As a small charity it means so much! Francis’ continued support of our work has been just fantastic; we often see him out and about on his bike so we know he’s been training hard – we’ll be there to cheer him and the rest of team Frambo off come May!”
The fundraiser has also received support from those at the University. Dr. Rhiannon Ash, Classics fellow at Merton College, has been involved in organising the event: “As a college tutor and fellow, it’s all too easy to develop tunnel vision and only focus on your next tutorial, conference paper, or committee meeting. When I heard about Francis Delaney’s ambitious challenge, I wanted to contribute in any way I could and help to make his inspirational tricycle ride a reality.
“As members of the University, we should all try to give something back to the vibrant and diverse local community which year in and year out generously welcomes into its midst so many students from around the globe.”