After eight long and grueling weeks of cycling between Claremont and Jubilee Square in Simons Town, Auric Auto sales executive, Shiraaz Mia, finally brought the curtain down on the inaugural Cycling for Charity campaign. Concluding a week earlier than initially forecasted, Mia and his team also managed to trump the original target of 500km; posting an overall distance of 710km.
The conclusion of the watershed initiative, which replaced the equally successful Charity in Motion campaign, was celebrated with an informal breakfast at the Kaprinos Restaurant in Northgate. In attendance were close family members of the cyclists, several VOC staff and board members, as well as the stations outside broadcast team.
Mia was joined week in and week out by nine other individuals, compromising close friends and colleagues. They were also accompanied on several occasions by teams from prominent cycling clubs as well as ‘other tag-a longs’, and he had special praise for those who assisted in making the venture a success.
“I want to thank all of them. These are three guys not here today because they actually entered for the Cycle Tour as well, but these are the guys that have been with me each and every week,” he said, pointing to several of his teammates.
Funds are being raised through pledges made by several of Auric Auto’s close business affiliates, and will be donated to the VOC Bursary Fund. With collections still being conducted, Mia was unable to divulge how much had so far been raised. He noted however, that a total of 10 companies had come on board to pledge their support, with a final tally expected by the end of the year.
“At the end of December we will have all the funds in. We are looking at getting a minimum of R100 000 from them. The forecast was approximately R150 000, so we’ll see how that goes,” he said.
Upon the opening week of the cycling campaign, the group had only completed a total of 50km. However, they managed to gradually up that distance as the weeks wore on, with Sunday’s ride seeing the cyclists complete a whopping 95km. Mia was adamant they would up that tally come next year.
“We are going to up the bar with the kilometers. With that, obviously the pledges will be a bit higher as well. We are going to be aiming for 1000km for next year,” he suggested.
Also in attendance was the chairperson of VOC’s Board of Management, Achmat Jacobs, who said the Cycling for Charity had brought about a new dimension for the sport, particularly in terms of using it as a method of charitable fundraising. He recognized Auric Auto’s continued dedication to the Bursary Fund, describing the company as a ‘key-player’ in fundraising over the last four years.
“I think this is a fantastic initiative by Shiraaz Mia, and I want to on behalf of VOC compliment him and his team, as well as Auric Auto for taking this initiative,” he said.
And with this year’s campaign sparking an interest in the sport, particularly amongst the youth, he expressed confidence the project would grow from strength to strength down the years. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)