20 cyclists prepare to set off from Spain to Portugal in aid of the Memorial Sports Foundation

20 cyclists prepare to set off from Spain to Portugal in aid of the Memorial Sports Foundation

From left, David McWilliam of law firm Ellis Jones, Tony Bernard, Stevie’s father, and route planner Craig Mathie, on a training ride in the New Forest.

Later this month, 20 cyclists will take on a 1,000-mile journey from Spain to Portugal, raising at least £20,000 for the Steve Bernard Foundation as part of the ‘It’s Too Faro’ fundraising campaign.

The foundation was set up 18 years ago in memory of Steve Bernard, known as Stevie B, who tragically died in a car crash that also claimed the lives of two of his friends, aged just 18.

Since then, the foundation set up by his family in his memory has raised more than £600,000 for youth sports projects in Dorset and the south coast, supporting more than 650 projects in more than 60 sports and four continents.

Steve Bernard

The fundraiser will feature Stevie’s father, Tony, in a support vehicle, and Stevie’s brother Jack as one of the riders.

Earlier this year, Jack completed three marathons around Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole in 24 Hours for the Foundation.

One of the riders is David McWilliam, head of personal injury and sports law at Dorset-based regional law firm Ellis Jones, which is the sponsor of It’s Too Faro.

He said: “Stevie’s sudden death, and the deaths of two young people with him, was a tragedy too terrible to comprehend – all 20 of us will ride a thousand miles with Stevie by our side in our minds.

“Thanks to the fantastic foundation set up by his family, more than £600,000 has already been raised for youth sports projects to get involved in across Bournemouth, Dorset and the south coast.

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“To date, the Foundation has supported more than 650 projects covering more than 60 sports and four continents, and we are determined to make the Stevie family proud by raising as much money as possible for sporting projects across our local area.”

David is no stranger to long-distance cycling – he was among 20 people who cycled 1,400 miles from Rome to Bournemouth in 2015; Rome 2 Home raised around £38,000 for the Stevie Foundation.

Stevie B’s father Tony Bernard, centre, on a training ride in the New Forest.

His brother Richard McWilliam will also ride with him.

To put the overland distance covered into perspective, it would take 16 hours non-stop to drive from the coastal city of Bilbao on the northern coast of Spain to Faro on the southwest coast of Portugal.

Tony said: “My family and I are extremely grateful to everyone who has donated in memory of Stevie, who was so passionate about sport – the It’s Too Faro fundraiser will enable other young people to enjoy sport as much as Stevie did.”

The project covers:

  • Purchasing or contributing to the purchase of sports equipment for sports teams, clubs and individuals predominantly based in Dorset, Hampshire or Sussex.
  • Purchasing equipment that enables disabled youth to practice sports or recreational activities.
  • Funding the training of coaches or officials in a wide range of sports.
  • Funding sports facilities or clothing for clubs, teams and associations located throughout the South.
  • Sponsor prizes, competitions and talent programs
  • Financing external projects with local connections. These projects ranged from church projects to providing sports equipment to schools in Thailand, Uganda, Kenya and many others.
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Donations can be made here https://www.stevebernardfoundation.com/it-s-too-faro/

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