Cyclist raises almost $20,000 for Lighthouse

Cyclist Alan Harcombe rides into the grounds of Lighthouse School on Friday as he finishes the second-last day of his charity 1,000 miles in 10 days bike ride, cheered on by students and teachers.

A cyclist who raised nearly $20,000 for Cayman’s Lighthouse School by embarking on a challenge to ride 1,000 miles in 10 days was greeted with cheers at the school on Friday afternoon.

Alan Harcombe, 47, who started the challenge on April 4, stopped by the school on day nine of his ride, as he prepared to tackle the final day and the last 100 miles. The whole school gathered to greet him, and students and teachers cheered him on and waved flags as he turned into the school grounds Friday.

Harcombe’s hope, in conjunction with the school’s Parent Teacher Association, was to raise thousands of dollars to assist the school with much-needed projects, such as a school playground, enhancements, safety repairs, wheelchair accessibility, 20 iPads, relevant apps for instructional and educational purposes, maintenance of the Sensory Garden, and funding for music therapy.

Harcombe, a cycling enthusiast, came up with the idea after attending a parent-teacher meeting at the school. His daughter Jamie, who was born with Down syndrome and a severe congenital heart defect, attends the Lighthouse School. Jamie was among the students present to welcome her dad on Friday.

Mechon Ebanks, vice president of the Lighthouse School’s Parent Teacher Association, said the cyclist raised close to $20,000 for the school.

Lighthouse Head Girl Tianna Hurlston said she was looking forward to the improvements at the playground so the students can enjoy playing puzzles, going on the swings, and playing football and basketball again.

Harcombe’s daily 100-mile cycle took place between the hours of 4 a.m. and 11 a.m., and he admitted trying to get enough sleep during the challenge had been tough.

Students of Lighthouse School give three cheers for Alan Harcombe Friday, as he celebrates with his daughter Jamie. – Photos: Jewel Levy

“Fittingly enough, we [he and his wife] rode exactly 100 miles today [Friday]. We got one more day to go and then it’s all done. It’s been going great and good fun riding. I got some good solid exercise over the nine days; now I’m just looking forward to getting some rest and normal sleep,” he said.

The most challenging day of his ride was on Sunday, April 7, he said, when he rode 125.5 miles and battled strong winds.

“The people’s response was great,” he said, adding “I will be glad when it’s done so I can kick back and relax.”
Ebanks thanked the local community and corporate sponsors for their support, and said the fundraising effort would be a continuing one, as she invited organisations or companies that want to help support the school to get in touch.

The ‘1,000 in 10’ event kicked off the school’s ‘Will You Be Our Partner’ campaign – a school initiative focussing on encouraging Cayman’s corporate community to partner with the school in developing and assisting the special needs children through volunteerism, community involvement and donations.

The Lighthouse School houses about 110 primary and secondary students with varied special needs and challenges.