Stellenbosch University Rector, fellow Maties complete London to Brighton Cycle Race for bursaries

The funds raised will go towards the newly established UK/EU Bursary Fund that aims to give academically gifted but financially disadvantaged students the opportunity to pursue success at SU and reach their full potential.


London, United Kingdom – Fifty-five miles and £8 060 (R146 000) later! Stellenbosch University (SU) Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Wim de Villiers, together with former SRC Chairperson, Carli van Wyk, as well as fellow Maties and friends of the University, successfully completed the London to Brighton Cycle Race on Sunday, 15 September 2019 to raise funds for student bursaries.

Prof De Villiers who was already in Europe to explore fundraising opportunities with European donors for Stellenbosch University was joined by Chris Pauw, Chris Donn, Abraham Botha, Anthony Bragg and Carli. Together they cycled the 55 miles or 88 kilometres from Clapham Common in South London to the seaside town of Brighton, completing the ride in 6 hours 46 minutes.

“We are extremely proud of our six riders, for completing the ride and exceeding the fundraising target of £7 500, raising to date a staggering amount of £8 060,” says Karen Bruns, Senior Director of Development and Alumni Relations (DAR) at SU.

“Stellenbosch University is fortunate to have a leader who is always willing to go the extra mile to raise money for students in need,” Bruns adds.

The funds raised will go towards the newly established UK/EU Bursary Fund that aims to give academically gifted but financially disadvantaged students the opportunity to pursue success at SU and reach their full potential. The amount of £7 500 will provide at least one student, for one year, with a full bursary that covers tuition, housing, food and textbooks.

“I must confess, the legs are definitely sore, but the spirit is always willing! Knowing that our efforts will give the next generation of Maties the chance to shine without facing undue stress and obstacles on their road to success, makes it all worthwhile. The gees was great, and I’m grateful to my fellow teammates who heeded the call to take up this challenge,” Prof De Villiers says.  

The past two years, Prof De Villiers has participated in several sporting events to raise money for bursaries and food banks. He completed the Cape Town Cycle Tour (CTCT) twice in a row and ran the full 42.2 km Sanlam Cape Town Marathon to raise funds for students.

Looking forward, SU has a team entered into the Cape Epic 2020, a charity entry in the 2020 CTCT, and plans to support runners in the 2019 Gun Run, 2020 Soweto and Comrades Marathon, and more. Each entrant is supported by DAR’s peer-to-peer fundraising team in creating communications and becoming good fundraisers themselves, as they must agree to raise funds for the causes of the University before they participate in the events.

Darryn Havenga, SU’s Director for Fundraising in the UK, explains: “The riders took part under the banner of the Stellenbosch University UK Foundation, a registered not for profit charity with the purpose of raising funds in the UK and EU to the benefit of Stellenbosch University.

“The Foundation sent out a call to all alumni living in the UK and the EU to join Prof De Villiers, who graciously agreed, on invitation from the Foundation trustees, to be the anchor rider. This was a fundraising initiative, so all riders were expected to pay and arrange their own way to London and agree to raise funds for this worthy cause on the GivenGain crowdfunding platform.”

The fundraising projects of the riders who completed the London to Brighton Cycle Race are still open until 30 September 2019. “With everyone contributing, we could even get this total to £15 000 and fund two students in 2020,” Havenga adds.

Sources: Prof De Villiers 
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