Framlingham man on a mission to collect 500 bicycles for African cause
Residents across east Suffolk have rallied to support a man and his mission to collect unwanted bikes to help improve the quality of lives of a community in Gambia.
Framlingham town councilor Spadge Hopkins is working with Colchester-based charity Re-Cycle.org, which supports The Wonder Years Centre of Excellence in Medina Salaama, in the South Kombo region of Gambia.
The centre runs a bike workshop to create employment and provide local residents with a means of transport, and has developed a nursery and primary school in the village to provide children with access to education.
Mr Hopkins wants to collect 500 bikes, enough to fill a shipping container, and has already had close to 200 donated to the cause. He is travelling to Gambia for two weeks in August, during which time he will work in the bike workshop and at the local school.
Mr Hopkins said: “I was inspired when I met Derek [the charity’s operations manager] who was donating bike racks to a Greener Fram Swap and Mend event that I was involved in. When I looked into the work they do, I saw that I could help. I like bikes as I began my engineering career by constantly rebuilding and improving my own as a lad.
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“I think that the concept of creating employment and training via the bicycle workshops of the partners in Africa was far more valuable than just donating unwanted bikes that had been refurbished over here.
“I am very pleased with the 185 bikes collected but my aim is to nominally fill a container, so all donations are still most welcome please.”
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Mr Hopkins will travel to collect unwanted bikes, with donations already having come from as far across the county as Eye, Bawdsey and Ipswich, with help from the Earl Soham Brewery’s delivery team. To contact Mr Hopkins, call 07831 843922 or email firstname.lastname@example.org