In July 2014, a team of Hertford cyclists powered their way from Hertford’s Bridge of Sighs to its Venetian namesake — and raised £344,000 to boost student access to Oxford.
The cyclists were of all ages and abilities, from serious cyclists used to time and endurance trials to more recreational bikers and complete novices. Past and present college members (students, alumni, staff, Fellows and even the Principal), they were all united by a desire to show just how far Hertford is prepared to go to improve access. An alumnus, Nick Harbinson, donated money to cover the entry fee for students to take part.
Despite any differences between us – in terms of age, gender, background, chosen career paths, level of cycling proficiency, etc – we were all pulling in the same direction. How very Hertford – Oliver Noble-Wood
Conceived by alumnus Terry Hughes as an ambitious way to increase funding for student support at Hertford, the fundraising target for the bike ride was £250,000. Overall, the event raised £344,000 through donations and sponsorship. All monies raised were chanelled into a special fund which we will use to fund student bursaries, outreach work, hardship grants and scholarships.
We rounded the Arc de Triomphe; we pelotoned down the Champs Élysées; we climbed up Alpine gorges; we spun past Burgundian vineyards. The team helped each other up steep hills – a “hand of God” placing itself on the principal’s back and helping him up when it was just too steep. It was part of the ethos of one for all and all for one – Will Hutton
The great camaraderie seen on the bike ride highlighted one thing that money can’t buy: the strength of the Hertford community. And the money raised will ensure we can continue to do what we’re known for: ensuring fair access to a great education for all.
A comprehensive kid whose parents hadn’t been to university, Hertford College, Oxford, with its rich history of pioneering access for all, took a chance on me. It was, in many respects, the starter pistol for the rest of my life… And twenty years on from my Hertford experience, I’d like other comprehensive kids to have someone take a chance on them – Nick Jefferson
Congratulations to everyone who took part, and a big thank you to all our donors and supporters.
Once the physical aches eventually diminish, what will stay with me and, I hope with all of us, are the friendships formed and strengthened during the ride – Matthew Abbott