Following Harold’s route for charity

Michael Hiett and Jamie Wilkinson from Hastings, preparing to ride from Stanford Bridge to Hastings (the route King Harold took in 1066) for Raleigh International
Michael Hiett and Jamie Wilkinson from Hastings, preparing to ride from Stanford Bridge to Hastings (the route King Harold took in 1066) for Raleigh International

Two teenagers are pedalling a mammoth trek for charity in the New Year.

Rather than fighting off invading Norman soldiers, Michael Hiett and Jamie Wilkinson are riding the route King Harold took in 1066 from Stamford Bridge in the East Riding of Yorkshire to Battle Abbey to raise money for Raleigh International.

The pair, both aged 18, will be setting off on January 7 and hope to arrive in 1066 Country four days later at the end of the 309-mile trek.

Michael, of Lower Glen Road, St Leonards, said: “We both aim to cycle 75 miles a day and hope to raise at least £800. I have to raise this amount for Raleigh International as I’m heading to Tanzania on February 9 to undertake a 10-week volunteering placement, helping out with a sanitation project in the north of the country.

“We will be teaching the importance of sanitation to locals, building toilets and gravity wells.”

Michael, who studied A-levels at Parkwood Sixth Form, intends to go to university next year to study economics and geography and he hopes his upcoming voluntary work in Tanzania will lead to job opportunities with similar charities and organisations in the developing world.

He and Jamie, who lives in Little Ridge Avenue, St Leonards, have been training hard for their bike ride over the last two weeks. Last week they pedalled from Hastings to Rye and back and made a return trip to Battle.

So far they have collected more than £250 in sponsorship and donations from friends and family. All of the proceeds raised will go directly to Raleigh International.

Michael and Jamie decided to pedal from Stamford Bridge to Battle Abbey after a suggested by Michael’s boss at Victoria Tyre Centre to make their charity trek Hastings-themed.

The Battle of Stamford Bridge took place on September 25, 1066, between an English army under King Harold Godwinson and an invading Norwegian force led by King Harald Hardrada and the English king’s brother Tostig Godwinson. Both Hardrada and Tostig along with most of the Norwegians were killed. Although Harold repelled the Norwegian invaders, his victory was short-lived.

On September 28, 1066, the Normans under William II landed on the south coast. Harold had to rush his battered, weary army south to meet the new invasion. Less than three weeks after Stamford Bridge, on October 14, he was defeated and killed at the Battle of Hastings, beginning the Norman Conquest of England.

To sponsor Michael and Jamie on their ridevisit www.justgiving.com/michael-hiett. To follow their progress log onto www.facebook.com/1066cycle.