Two young students have joined the support crew for Bath Rugby Foundation’s Italian cycling adventure.
Jade Whale and Kieran Cunningham have been asked to take part in next month’s Giro di Toscana after shining on the Foundation’s Hitz programme over the past 12 months.
Bath Rugby Foundation’s Employment Officer, Joe Aygul, said the chance to take part in the three-day fundraising event , which will see 100 people cycle around Tuscany, was a reward for their hard work and the progress they have both put in since joining the Foundation.
HITZ is an education and sporting programme for 16-19 year olds, delivered by Bath Rugby Foundation.
Joe said: “Kieran has successfully completed Level 1 Hitz and this year has shown commitment and a great attitude, volunteering with the Foundation’s inclusion projects.
“He has greatly improved his communication skills and his confidence has grown this year. He is a great ambassador for Hitz.
“Jade is a Level 2 Hitz student. The change since she started on Hitz last year has been remarkable and a source of great pride to everyone at the Foundation.
“She is a dependable member of the group and is one of the first to put her hand up and volunteer for every opportunity.
“Initially she had no clarity in what she wanted to do with her life. Now she is exploring avenues with the army and also pursuing apprenticeships within sports coaching.”
Earlier this year the pair were both recognised for their hard work by appearing as members of the Bath Rugby foundation XV – 15 participants on Foundation programmes who have made great progress and appeared on the Bath Rugby shirts at The Clash.
Event organiser, David Trick said: “They will be an invaluable source of support for the event team, assisting at pit stops, lunch stops, at the resort and in many other ways we haven’t thought of yet.
“Also they will be doing a bike mechanic course before we leave so will be able to help out with bike issues along the way.”
Neither Kieran nor Jade, who are both 17, have been to Italy before, with Jade having to get her first passport to take part in the trip.
Kieran said: “I feel really great to be going. It will be a great experience and it is helping the Foundation raise money so I am glad to be helping out.”
Jade said: “I feel like it is an amazing opportunity – we’re getting a special life experience.
“I was shocked when I was asked because there are other people on the Hitz course who could have been asked.
“It is really exciting to be going to a different country and to get the chance to try new things.”
The Giro Di Toscana takes place in June, with both a 50-mile and an 80-mile route planned for each day.
Rather than cycling 80 or 50 miles, unpacking, sleeping and then packing again, this year the group of cyclists – which includes Bath Rugby Director of Rugby Todd Blackadder – will stay in the same place and do three different loops starting and ending at an internationally renowned triathlete resort.
The Giro Di Toscana, sponsored by Bath firm Flying Pig Renovations, takes place from June 6 to June 10. It costs £749 to take part, with an additional minimum fundraising target of £650.
Previous fundraising cycle rides organised by Bath Rugby Foundation have seen riders pedal across Ireland, throughout the Normandy countryside and from John O’Groats to Land’s End.