William hails charity bikers

Prince William greeted cyclists hoping to raise thousands of pounds for charity yesterday (31.03.08) before they started their 5,000 mile bike ride.

The 25-year-old royal welcomed the Cycle of Life riders into London’s St. James Palace, who are all hoping to raise money for Africa’s animal conservation trust Tusk.

The team of riders – lead by Barty Pleydell-Bouverie – will travel across Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania and Kenya, accompanied by a local rider, to raise money for the UK-based charity which aims to help stop rural poverty in Africa.

Barty told Prince William: “What we are really trying to do is make an impact within these conservation areas where a lot of work has been done to protect the local environment.

“People living in these areas have their lives intertwined with the future of the wildlife and we will be raising money to support these communities to help them through various initiatives.”

William – who is patron of the trust – told one of the riders, 19-year-old Damian Jansen: “I hope it’s challenging but fun and I hope it’s everything you want it to be.”

Included in the team of riders are two homeless men, who are being helped by the charity Centrepoint – of which William is also patron. The cyclists will fly to Africa on April 11 and hope to begin their trek five days later, aiming to cover 60 miles a day and complete the route in four months.