Cyclists raise £20,000 in memory of James Atkinson and Rob Gauntlett

One Mile Closer team.
One Mile Closer team.

A team of cyclists has raised £20,000 in memory of two former Christ’s Hospital School pupils who fell to their deaths climbing in 2009.

They were cycling from Provence to Petworth for One Mile Closer, set up by the family and friends of Rob Gauntlett and James Atkinson, who died ice climbing in Chamonix.

Holly Allan, Elly Balme, Lucy Parsons.

Holly Allan, Elly Balme, Lucy Parsons.

The ride encompasses two schemes, the James Atkinson Bequest, which funds outdoor opportunities for Christ’s Hospital pupils and the Rob Gauntlett Trust, which is building Nalango Secondary School in Uganda, through the Henry van Straubenzee Memorial fund, whose patrons include Princes William and Harry.

Nichola Gauntlett, Rob’s mother, said: “As a family it’s important for us to rememeber him by, it’s important to my husband and my son by doing this sort of thing.

“To speak to the headmaster and hear what they have to go through to get to school is quite moving, it’s quite important that they have schools and we are thrilled that we can make a difference.”

The ride was organised by Richard Lebon, with James Hooper, who climbed Mount Everest with Rob, Rob’s father David and younger brother Tim, and James’ two sisters Harriet and Kate, taking part.

Holly Allan, 18, from Washington’s Spring Garden Nursery, who has just finished at Collyers, joined the group, with her boyfriend Simon Burfiend, 20, from Little Drove in Steyning.

She said: “I wouldn’t have completed it without the help and encouragement of the team who have greatly inspired me and make me want to continue with new challenges, outside of my comfort zone, especially if they result in raising money like this one has for such a worthwhile cause.”

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