STAFF and students at John Hanson Community School in Andover raised more than £10,000 for SEN students at Andover College with a 24-hour cycle challenge.

On Friday (October 1) at 3pm, following months of training, blood, sweat and tears, the epic event came to an end, after participants had cycled through the night to make up their miles.

Four teams of three, plus two additional students who took part from home due to testing positive for Covid, took it in turns to cycle for an hour on static bikes in the school hall.

The Y11 cohort had picked to support the new course for young people with additional needs in support of friend-of-the-school Jasmine, 18, who now attends the course with her friends.

The college is in need of equipment to be able to run SEN teaching, and allow Jasmine and her friends to allowing school friend Jasmine and her friends to learn in Andover for their further education.

As a packed hall of cheering onlookers counted down the remaining seconds of the cycle, it was confirmed that the teams had smashed their £10,000 goal.

Jo Pearson, marketing coordinator, said: “The whole of the school have been in during their break times and lunch times. We were expecting maybe one or two tutor groups, but the support has been amazing.”

Kim Hide, assistant headteacher, was one of the members of staff who stayed with the cyclists throughout the night.

She was emotional as she told the Advertiser: “It’s been amazing. The students have been unbelievable.

“Of the students who cycled, two of them tested positive for Covid at the start of the week. They still took part from home, but two amazing boys stepped in at the last minute, without all the training. They are heroes. They have been amazing, all of them.”

She continued: “The students are in Y11, and they are looking at colleges, and they were just aware that other children aren’t as fortunate as them.

“Jasmine is a friend of the school, so when the opportunity came up to help them, they wanted to do that.”

While it was a gruelling 24 hours, all of the support kept the students going.

At an open event between 6 and 9pm, £3,000 was raised through a raffle alone, and Kim says “half of Andover” showed up to support the students, including the local police and fire services.

Videos from friends and family were shown throughout the night, as the participants pedalled to reach their target distances.

“They’ve not just been pedalling lazily,” said Kim. “They’ve had milestones to hit!”

Commenting on the event, Russell Stevens, headteacher, said: “It’s been unbelievable, it restores your faith in youth today. They get a really bad rep out in the community at times, but not at John Hanson.”

He added: “It typifies what we are all about. Our students are very conscious of the fact that they are privileged, and these events are a chance for them to give something back. We already have our current Y10s telling us what they want to do next year!”

Fresh off the bike, Y11 student and head girl Lucy Hide said: “It was hard work, but we had to remember what we were doing it for.”

“We have so many opportunities, and we wanted to give something to those that don’t.”

Meanwhile, PE teacher and head of year Patrick Holmes added: “It’s been really difficult, physically and mentally. Everyone has had different hard hours, and not many of us had any sleep at all. But everyone has clubbed together to support each other.”

He continued: “I was breaking at the end, I won’t lie, but it was amazing and the difference it’s going to make for those kids, it’s so worth it.”

You can still support the fundraising venture at: