Not for Profit

20 cyclists are gearing up to ride from Spain to Portugal in aid of commemorative sports foundation

From left, David McWilliam of law firm Ellis Jones, Tony Bernard, Stevie’s father, and route planner Craig Mathie, at a New Forest training ride.

By Sam Pither [email protected]

Published: October 2, 2023 | Updated: 2nd October 2023

Later this month, 20 cyclists will take on a 1000-mile odyssey as they cycle from Spain to Portugal, raising at least £20,000 for the Steve Bernard Foundation as part of the ‘It’s Too Faro’ fundraiser.

The foundation was set up 18 years ago in memory of Steve Bernard, known as Stevie B, who tragically died in a car crash which also claimed two of his friends, aged just 18.

Since then, the foundation set up by his family in his memory has raised more than £600,000 for sporting projects for youngsters in Dorset and the South Coast, supporting over 650 projects across more than 60 sports and four continents.

Steve Bernard

Participating in the fundraiser will be Stevie’s dad, Tony, in a support vehicle, and Stevie’s brother Jacques as one of the riders.

Earlier this year Jacques completed three marathons around Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole within 24 hours for the foundation.

One of the riders is David McWilliam, head of personal injury and sports law at Dorset-based regional law firm Ellis Jones, a sponsor of It’s Too Faro.

He said: “Stevie’s untimely passing, and that of two youngsters with him, was a tragedy too awful to comprehend – the 20 of us taking part will be riding the 1,000 miles with Stevie alongside us in our minds.

“Thanks to the incredible foundation his family set up, more than £600,000 has already been raised for sporting projects for youngsters to take part in across Bournemouth, Dorset and the South Coast.

“To date, the foundation has supported more than 650 projects covering more than 60 sports and four continents, and we are determined to do Stevie’s family proud by raising as much money as possible for sporting projects across our local region.”

David is no stranger to long-distance bike rides – he was among 20 who cycled 1,400 miles from Rome to Bournemouth in 2015; Rome 2 Home raised around £38,000 for Stevie’s foundation.

Tony Bernard, Stevie B’s father, centre, at a New Forest training ride.

His brother, Richard McWilliam, will also be riding alongside him.

To put the overland distance covered into perspective, it would take a car 16 hours non-stop to drive from the port city of Bilbao on the north coast of Spain to Faro on the south-west cost of Portugal.

Tony said: “My family and I are incredibly grateful to everyone who has donated in memory of Stevie, who was so passionate about sport – the It’s Too Faro fundraiser will enable other youngsters to enjoy sport as much as Stevie did.“

Projects cover:

  • Purchasing, or contributing to the purchase of, sporting equipment for sports teams, clubs and individuals based predominantly in Dorset, Hampshire or Sussex.
  • Purchasing of equipment which enables disabled youngsters to undertake sporting or leisure activities.
  • Funding of training for coaches or officials across a wide variety of sports.
  • Funding of sporting facilities or apparel for clubs, teams and associations based across the South.
  • Sponsorship of awards, competitions and talent programmes
  • Funding of overseas projects with local connections. These have ranged from church projects to providing sporting equipment for schools in Thailand, Uganda, Kenya and many more.

Donations can be made here https://www.stevebernardfoundation.com/it-s-too-faro/

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