The Ministry Of Stories

Not a lot of people know this but I'm a former teacher. Not totally former as I am often still in the classroom, but a former full time teacher. As such when an email lands in my inbox from a man championing a charity with, quite literally, a magical story behind it I could not resist it.
The Ministry Of Stories is a charity co-founded by the writer Nick Hornby. They provide free writing workshops to children providing inspiration and often reengaging children in their learning. The children's work is then able to be published using the Ministries various publishing platforms which range from play scripts to podcasts. In my teaching career I worked for years with children in care of referral units and I know that schemes like this have the power to turn children back on to education. The Ministry works within schools in East London with workshops often being held at the outrageously brilliant Hoxton Street Monster Supplies. 
Greg is riding the well trodden path of Lands End to John O'Groats to raise money for The Ministry Of Stories. But he is doing it in 5 days averaging around 200 miles a day. Which is no mean feat at all and again right up our alley. Below is his story and below that is more information about the charity. 

One hundred miles into the ride and it felt like my system was shutting down. It wasn't supposed to happen like this. It had been a hot day and my hydration game had not been on point. Over-layered and to interested in chasing my own demon to the finish line rather than giving myself the riot act. With twenty six miles left, I pulled over to the side of the road...

 This is how my second to last training ride went (I did finish it by the way!). My name is Greg Nay and I'm in the last few weeks of training for what will be the hardest five days of my cycling life as I attempt Land's End to John O' Groats. This quintessential British long distance ride has been lurking in the shadows for a while, a dark cloud ready to break at any moment.  Whilst the distance varies depending on the route you use, mine will be around 980 miles. That works out around 200 miles a day, some days less some days more. 

The training for this ride has been a thrill and luckily not too many spills!

 I've watched the seasons pass, visited amazing places. Taken routes out to the Essex coast inspired by the Blackmore crew. Had many many spins down the wet pebble dashed lanes of February and March. Punctures, double punctures and even a wheel cracking pothole. Then there were the April showers that moved into May, June, July..... 

Power pose.

 The head wind battles in the Fens, sizzling in the sun visiting the shingle desert of Dungeness, searching for the lost city of Dunwich.

 A real adventure before the adventure, a real it's 'the journey not the destination' vibe as the famous quote has made clear.

 Before setting out on the big ride north I wanted to see how an epic one dayer would treat me.

So, a ride or die schlep up to Whitby from Epping was in order. 16 hours in the saddle, soul crushed a few times over, only to be lifted by the last few uplifting miles through the North Yorkshire Moors. A landscape pockmarked with tufts of purple heather. At this time of night it was just me the setting sun, some unsettled sheep and a light misty spritz from the rain.

The Southwold ferry. Glam.

 This 246 miler was a test run for LeJog. If I can survive that then perhaps this jaunt up to the northern tip of Scotland might be plausible. 

 All this riding madness this five day blitz up to John O' Groats is not in vain, not the rantings of a mad man. I am doing this on behalf of a charity called The Ministry of Stories, an inner city children's writing workshop. It is a free after school program that gets kids using their all ready overflowing imagination to write stories, plays, poems and even podcasts. It's a wonderful way to instil confidence in the children and show them that their creativity can be formed into something tangible, something that lets their voices be heard. 

Greg outside "Hoxton Monster Supplies". Quite a place.

 As a volunteer here, I have seen these kids faces light up when they have that great idea and can't wait to scribble it down. That moment makes all this riding worthwhile. If I can help keep this charity running the programs for free then I'll suffer on the roads of Britain for a couple of days! And hopefully get to see an eagle or two when I hit the highlands!

Find out more and give to Greg's page HERE