Hunter joins Change a Life ride

2012-09-17 12:28

Johannesburg - South African road race champion Robbie Hunter has signed up as an ambassador for the 2012 Change a Life Cycle Tour which starts on Thursday, September 20.

Hunter will join 75 of South Africa’s leading business executives on the fifth Change a Life Cycle organised by Computershare to raise funds to combat crime.

This year’s five-day event returns home to South Africa for a 550km cycle (including a 5 000 metre climb) through the Waterberg in Limpopo. The 2012 cycle tour aims to raise R3.5 million, bringing to R15 million the total amount it has paid to anti-crime projects in South Africa.

The Change a Life Cycle Tour was established in 2008 in memory of Mike Thomson, a Computershare executive who was murdered at his family home in 2007, and it has developed a track record as one of South Africa’s leading fundraising tours.

The Mike Thomson Change a Life Trust supports the management of crime in South Africa and seeks to stop crime where it takes root among South Africa’s youth. It funds five highly effective projects that have the common objective of combating crime.

Some of the business leaders taking part in this year’s event from September 20-25 are Nicky Newton-King, new CEO of the JSE; Nic Kohler, CEO of Hollard; Gavin Rimmer, president of UTi; Alan Hutcheson, CEO of Tracker; Albie Geldenhuys, chairperson of USN; Diane Radley, CEO of Old Mutual Investment Group South Africa; Enzo Scarcella, Managing Executive, Marketing at Vodacom; and David Cleasby, Financial Director of Bidvest. Martin Dreyer, Dusi champion and leader of one of the Change a Life beneficiary projects, will join the cyclists.

Funds from the Change a Life Cycle are channelled into five anti-crime initiatives - The DNA Project, which is advancing the use of DNA evidence in bringing criminals to justice; the Martin Dreyer Change a Life Academy, which trains disadvantaged youngsters in rural KwaZulu-Natal to become professional athletes; iChoose to Change a Life, which provides leadership training to teenage offenders so they can launch anti-crime projects in their communities; the Allan Thomson Kushido Karate-Do, which inspires disadvantaged children to become productive members of society through the discipline and power of karate; and NEMATO Change a Life which gives disadvantaged youngsters in the townships of Port Alfred the mindset, skills, knowledge and support to become successful in life.

Each of these projects is run by a powerful role model who has achieved success in his or her own life and wants to give back to society. For example, Martin Dreyer is a seven-time Dusi Marathon winner and his young beneficiaries can be seen competing for the top positions in the Dusi each year; Allan Thomson holds a black belt in karate and wants to build something positive out of his brother Mike’s tragic death; Jan Blom at NEMATO Change a Life has coached Olympic and university rowers in Holland and South Africa and is creating productive lives for children who would otherwise face a hopeless future.

Computershare CEO, Stan Lorge, says with cycling the fastest growing executive sport in South Africa, there is enormous opportunity to harness the power of cycling for good:
“As we set out once again, it is important for us to remember exactly why we do this: to fight crime and provide alternatives and hope through our five projects and their incredibly dedicated and inspiring project owners.”

Cyclists will depart on Rovos Rail from Pretoria Station to Pienaars River Station at Carousal. Day 1 of cycling will cover 120km of mostly flat road with a sturdy climb over the final 20km stretch to the Legend Golf and Safari Resort in the Waterberg. Day 2 will cover 148km of rolling terrain to Elisras and Day 3 offers the greatest challenge with a 215km undulating ride through bushveld to Vaalwater and then back to the Legend resort. Day 4 involves 75km, finishing off with a gruelling 9km uphill time trial, but the cyclists’ aching limbs or bruised egos will be soothed by the camaraderie that develops on the tour and the sense that something truly good will come from their efforts.

The 2012 Change a Life Cycle has five primary sponsors in Hollard, the JSE Limited, Sun International, UTi and Vodacom. Computershare matches rand for rand all funds raised from cyclist entry fees. For the second consecutive year, 100% of the cyclists’ entry fees and the matched funds will be channelled directly into the recipient projects with all costs of the cycle tour funded by sponsorships.