Six week pilgrimage in aid of children's charity

Kris Sladewski on a training ride to Lymington earlier this month with all the gear he will be taking on his tour.

Kris Sladewski on a training ride to Lymington earlier this month with all the gear he will be taking on his tour.

First published in News

A HAMPSHIRE man will be sleeping under the stars this summer as he cycles 2,200-miles in a pilgrimage in aid of a children’s charity.

For six weeks Kris Sladewski will be camping in the great outdoors as he makes his way from Sicily to Southampton in a bid to raise more than £1,000 for Mary’s Meals.

The 29-year-old from Eastleigh will be cycling from Palermo to Southampton in memory of his friend Debbie Rookie, from Essex, who died in a car crash last May, helping the cause which was close to her heart.

Kris will embark on his trip on June 22 and incorporate the St Francis of Assisi pilgrimage, visiting the Italian town, which was the birthplace of the patron saint.

He said: “I’m intending to cover around 80 miles each day, visit Rome, Assisi and Paris on the way. To save money I will sleep in a Bivvy bag, cook my own food on a small gas and wood stove I will carry with me.

“As this is partly my pilgrimage I will not be listening to any music for the whole ride and limit my Internet usage to the bare minimum.”

Mary’s Meals is a global movement that sets up school feeding projects in some of the world’s poorest communities. It began in Milawi, Africa, in 2002.

Kris, who works at the Ordnance Sur-vey Centre in Adanac Drive, Southampton, will keep in touch with home via Twitter, where he will provide updates for his journey.

Initially Kris, who regularly attends mass at St Edmund’s RC Church in The Avenue, planned to cycle from Assisi to Southampton but after Debbie’s death he changed plans.

He added: “I’m intending to raise £1,220 for Mary’s Meals, a charity that Debbie supported.

“According to Mary’s Meals, on average it costs just £12.20 to feed a child for the whole school year. "It’s insane to realise how little money that is.

“I strongly believe that together we can achieve the target of £1,220 and feed 100 children for an entire school year.”

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