Charity challenge is off to Olympic start

Olympic gold medallist Sally Gunnell visits Shoreham College to support Downs Link Challenge cyclists
Olympic gold medallist Sally Gunnell visits Shoreham College to support Downs Link Challenge cyclists

CHARITY cyclists and walkers had the support of an Olympic gold medallist as they prepare for the 9th Downs Link Challenge.

Former Olympic and world champion hurdler, Sally Gunnell, visited Shoreham College last week to help promote the event, which raises funds for Chestnut Tree House children’s hospice.

It is a fun, family event and people can cycle or walk anything from five to 30 miles on the Downs Link path, from Bramber to Christ’s Hospital

The challenge, organised by Shoreham College Parents’ Association, takes place on Saturday and is open to anyone. Registration is at Bramber Castle from 7.30am and people can start any time from 8am, with the aim of finishing by 1pm.

Last year, more than 200 riders and walkers raised more than £4,000, which brought the total raised over the last eight years to more than £50,000.

Challenge co-ordinator Vicky Thomas, who will be there to welcome participants, said: “The scenery of the South Downs is stunning, the course is off-road so ideal for families, and the event is very much a fun, family day out with plenty of support and drinks and snacks on route.

“Of course, helping raise a substantial sum of money for Chestnut Tree House, of which Sally Gunnell is patron, makes the effort so much more worthwhile.

“It truly is a fantastic event, made special by the good spirits and humour of all the lovely people who take part.”

The event started as a social occasion and that remains an important part of it, alongside raising money for the hospice. People are encourage to take a picnic and relax in the grounds of Bramber Castle when they finish.

Caroline Roberts-Quiqley, community fundraiser for Chestnut Tree House, said: “We have to raise £6,850 every day to keep the house and our community service running.

“Less than 8p in every pound comes from central government funding. For the rest, we rely on the generosity of the local community and events like the Downs Link Challenge.”

There is still time to get involved, as well as offer support on the day or sponsorship.

Either email or visit for more information.