Mammoth cycle ride to help make Otley the greenest town in the world

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AN OTLEY man will ride 500 miles around the North coast of Scotland to raise money for a climate action group that he helped to set up.

Andrew Howarth, who is the coordinator for the community group Otley 2030, will travel to the furthest reaches of Scotland. He will ride The North Coast 500 – a 516-mile scenic cycle route starting and ending in Inverness.

Andrew, who will turn 40 during the cycle ride, is raising funds for Otley 2030 to help it step up the good work it is already doing to make Otley the “greenest town in the world”.

He said: “We have all seen the increase in freak weather events around the world on the news recently, and we’ve seen it in our own town with the greater frequency of extreme rain events. We’re also seeing a massive loss in biodiversity and an encroachment onto our green spaces by new unsustainable developments.

“Otley 2030 is a community organisation (currently applying for charitable status) that I helped to found. We’ve organised some fantastic projects, including the Fruit and Veg box scheme, getting solar panels on the library and local schools, and the Festival of Kindness coming up from 24th- 26th September.

“Our goal is to make Otley a carbon neutral, nature-friendly town by the 2030s and to make sure that the transition is done in a fair way that benefits the whole town.

“In our first two years, we have raised approximately £35,000, but this cash has all been reserved for the projects above.

“Starting a charity is a costly business and we are now looking to raise unreserved funds, so we can begin to look for a town centre climate action hub and employ staff to work in it. This is likely to cost over £25,000 per year and we’re currently applying to multiple organisations to help with this.”

Andrew’s trip will be particularly challenging as he has suffered from serious fatigue for the last ten years, after an undiagnosed condition that left him hospitalised. He also contracted Covid-19 earlier this year, which exacerbated the fatigue – but he is determined to finish the famous route.

“My goal is to raise £2,500 by cycling 500 lumpy miles around the North Coast of Scotland for two weeks, starting on September 4,” he said. Please sponsor us in our journey to make Otley the greenest town in the world.”

Andrew,who is training to be a forest school teacher, has set up a crowdfunding page. Visit https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/otley2030 to help him reach his fundraising goal.

Otley 2030 has also just relaunched its website – now full of information on all their projects and how people can get involved. Visit www.otley2030.com for more information or to sign up to the group’s mailing list.

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