09 June 2014, 17:45PM
Today I'm passing over the blog again - this time to Jane Field whose 18 year old son, Fin, is in the middle of a heroic bike ride from our sanctuary in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China, all the way to Hong Kong.
Jane advises that Fin is today about a third of the way through and please I would urge you to support Fin (and naturally his charity of choice, Animals Asia) and give him a virtual rousing cheer for being so impressive and doing this for the bears.
UK actress Lesley Nicol who plays Mrs Patmore in Downton Abbey was coincidentally on site at the same time (more in next blog) and was delighted to help wave him off on his incredible journey.
Jane writes about Fin's epic adventure here, while we all send love and warm wishes for the rest of his trip.
29 May 2014 - Day 1: Fin set off on from Chengdu this morning on his big bike ride back to Hong Kong. It is a 3,000km journey and he's doing it solo. He's expecting it to take 4-6 weeks, but the actual time will depend on many factors such as weather, break-downs, getting lost, and how his body holds up.
The aim of the trip is to raise money and awareness for Animals Asia and the amazing work that you are doing, Jill, to house and rehabilitate bears that you have rescued from a life of torture. Fin remembers a visit that you paid to his primary school in Hong Kong when he was 7 or 8 years old. He was very struck by the story of your first encounter with moon bear farming, when a bear reached an arm through its cage and gently touched you on the shoulder. Since then as a family we have always supported Animals Asia and it was thrilling to see our sponsored bear Athena at the sanctuary in Chengdu yesterday, chilling out under a shady platform!
The other objective is for Fin to practise his Chinese. He's currently on a gap year and will start at Edinburgh university this September to read Chinese and Economics. Given that he'll be cycling through some areas that are definitely not on the tourist trail he should have plenty of opportunity for this. He's also fulfilling a deal made with his parents — that in order to get any gap year funding from them, he had to undertake at least one month of charity work during the year!
The route he's chosen takes him through the provinces of Sichuan, Guizhou, Guangxi, and Guangdong, from Chengdu to Ziyang, Neijiang, Luzhou, Chishui, Taipingdu, Renhuai, Guiyang, Libo, Hechi, Liuzhou, Lipu, Yangshuo, Guilin, and Guangzhou to Hong Kong.
Fin and his twin sister Isobel will be 19 years old on July 22nd. Fin is a keen sportsman, especially keen on rugby, cricket and surfing, and he represented Hong Kong Under 20s recently at the Junior World Rugby Trophy tournament this April. He's passionately interested in China and spent Sep-Dec last year at Beijing Language & Cultural University. He's been earning gap year funds by teaching mini rugby, waitering, carrying golf bags, and tutoring. He's 6'6" and had to ship his bike in from the US in order to get a big enough frame. He weighed 103kgs when he set off this morning.
Those wishing to support Animals Asia by sponsoring his trip can visit his fund-raising page at: http://www.justgiving.com/finbiketrip
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