Wednesday 28th September 2011

Today, a group of more than 100 young East Londoners embarked on a sponsored cycle, in aid of UNICEF.

The group cycled a combined distance of 450 miles, by completing 900 laps of Stepney Gardens, East London. This is the equivalent distance from Mogadishu to Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. As Somalis continue to make this treacherous journey to flee the worsening famine, these young children have raised money for UNICEF’s East Africa children’s appeal.

Six local schools participated, including Ben Jonson Primary, Cayley Primary, Halley Primary, Redlands Primary, Smithy Street Primary and Stepney Green Maths Computing and Science College. Ben Yeo, a coordinator from the Stepney Schools Partnership, led the event and said:

“I am extremely proud to see so many children from schools in Stepney take part in such an inspirational activity. They’ve cycled long and hard today and will go home happily knowing that they have helped other children, by raising money for UNICEF.”

Charlie Simpson, 8, the fundraising guru who raised £260,000 for UNICEF’s Haiti earthquake appeal, has been gearing up to join this new cycling challenge. He gave training tips and fundraising advice in advance of today’s big race. Charlie Simpson said:

“I am really glad I did my bike ride for UNICEF because I enjoyed it and it helped save thousands and thousands of children. It makes me sad to see poor and hungry children on the news. We are trying to help because small things can make a difference. Please sponsor us!”

UNICEF is the biggest provider of life-saving food for children across the Horn of Africa, but urgently need the British public to share a little of what they have to enable them to reach the hundreds of thousands of children affected by the food crisis. Just £5 can feed a child for a week.

Many of the children signing up for this bike ride have family and friends still living in Somalia, walking unimaginable distances to reach food and water.

Mo Farah, a gold medal winning runner, heard of the challenge and said:

“I am no stranger to pushing myself when it comes to physical challenges, but even I am hugely impressed with what Charlie and his chums have achieved today. Their cycle around Stepney Gardens was a tough challenge for little legs but they did it to raise money for UNICEF to help children on the other side of the world.

 “I was born in Somalia where famine is claiming the lives of children at an alarming rate. I cannot say thank you enough to Charlie and friends for helping to save their lives.”

Please sponsor these children at

Just £5 will help UNICEF feed a child for a week. To donate £5 to UNICEF, text SHARE to 78866, call 0800 037 9797, or go to


CONTACT: For more information or to join the children on race day, please contact Gemma Parkin: 0207 375 6030 / 07988 482 649 /



•       UNICEF has been working across all areas of Somalia for 40 years.  We are the largest supplier of therapeutic and supplementary nutrition in the country. Despite the challenges to a country torn apart by conflict, insecurity and poverty, UNICEF and its partners, is delivering for children.  We work in every region in the south where we operate through a network of 70 non-government partners and deploy third party monitors to ensure that supplies reach children.
•       Famine has been declared in five regions of the south and indications are that the famine could deepen and spread across other regions in the coming weeks.


UNICEF is the world’s leading organisation working for children and their rights in more than 190 countries. As champion of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, UNICEF works to help every child realise their full potential. Together with our partners, UNICEF delivers health care, nutrition, education and protection to children in urgent need, while working with governments to ensure they deliver on their promise to protect and promote the rights of every child. UNICEF relies entirely on voluntary donations from individuals, governments, institutions and corporations, and is not funded by the UN budget. For more information, please visit