Tour de Fred comes to Nottingham

Fred Uttley (left) and Mark Brown (right) meet CAFOD Parish Contacts

Fred Uttley (left) and Mark Brown (right) meet CAFOD Parish Contacts

Fred Uttley, from Padiham in Lancashire, reached Nottingham Cathedral on day 19 of his challenge to cycle to all 22 Catholic dioceses in England & Wales in just under three weeks – a challenge that has been dubbed the ‘Tour de Fred’.

By cycling more than 1,000 miles round the country Fred hopes to raise funds for farmers in Bangladesh, and inspire others to campaign against world hunger.

Fred was not travelling alone. Paralympian Mark Brown, who won a silver medal at Sydney in 2000, had accompanied Fred on the whole of the ‘Tour de Fred’, at times cycling with him, at times driving the support vehicle. Mark, the husband of Fred’s niece, is an experienced cyclist and a former soldier who lost his left arm in an accident.

Both Fred and Mark were given a warm welcome by a group of students and staff from Christ the King Secondary School, Arnold, Nottingham and CAFOD Parish Contacts from West Bridgford, Derby and Bulwell, alongside Marie Molloy, Diocesan Manager and Cathedral Dean, Fr Geoffrey Hunton, when they arrived shortly before 1 pm mass. After mass there was time for all to chat to Fred and Mark about their experiences and enjoy a light picnic lunch in the cathedral garden before the cyclists had to set off for Hallam Diocese.

Both Fred and Mark admitted to be looking forward to their return home to Salford Diocese on Saturday and the chance to be reunited with their families. Fred said: ”I have met such lovely people along the way, visited schools, taken part in parish events, been offered hospitality in supporters homes – it has been an amazing experience.” For Mark, the biggest challenge was plotting the route avoiding busy major roads and steep hills!

Fred, a great grandfather, former plumber and ardent Burnley FC fan, has volunteered for CAFOD for more than ten years, in particular organising CAFOD schools football competitions. In 2004, he visited Liberia, in West Africa, with CAFOD, where he met former World Player of the Year, George Weah, and presented strips from Burnley, Everton, Liverpool, and his local junior team to teams using football in Liberia as a unifying force in the former war-torn country.

Fred says that the inspiration for his bike ride came out of the blue, as an alternative to his parish’s regular fundraising quiz. He said: “I wanted to think of another way to raise money, so I was sat at home and then it came to me, ‘Why don’t I do a bike ride round each of the dioceses in the UK for CAFOD?’”

You can support the Tour de Fred at justgiving.com/tourdefred.

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