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Good neighbours: Grannies' Island cycling trek from Campbell River to Victoria to aid Africa

Sep 02 2012
Pat Mayhill, left, Heather Wilson, Claudia Kobayashi, Jocelyn Green and Christine Scott are riding from Campbell River to Victoria this week. 

Pat Mayhill, left, Heather Wilson, Claudia Kobayashi, Jocelyn Green and Christine Scott are riding from Campbell River to Victoria this week.

Photograph by: Bruce Stotesbury , timescolonist.com (August 2012)

Members of "granny groups" from all over Vancouver Island are once again joining forces to help their counterparts half a world away.

At the heart of the trip are 30 women from Victoria Grandmothers for Africa and sister organizations, supported by their peers from several Island communities. They will be setting out Friday morning on the sixth annual Campbell River-to-Victoria cycling trek - a 275-kilometre ride to raise funds for African grandmothers who are faced with raising their grandchildren after their own children die of AIDS.

As many as 60 per cent of orphans in some African countries live in homes headed by a grandmother, but the grandmothers' added responsibilities come with little in the way of assistance as they struggle to step in for a lost generation of parents.

Money for food, medicine and schooling is vital, and the Vancouver Island cycling event has raised more than $200,000 in the past five years for those and other needs.

This year's goal is to raise at least $50,000, bringing the Vancouver Island total to a quarter of a million dollars and adding to the total of $13.5 million that has been raised by crusading grandmothers nationwide. All of the money collected goes to the Stephen Lewis Foundation's Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign.

The cyclists are scheduled to complete their ride in Victoria next Sunday. A 3 p.m. celebration will be held for them at St. John the Divine Church, 1611 Quadra St., in conjunction with Grandparents Day.

Jocelyn Green, who will be taking part in her fifth ride, said the oldest rider is 81 and the average age is mid-to late-60s. Participants are from all over the Island, she said, including CourtenayComox, Campbell River, Nanaimo and Hornby and Denman islands.

Green said many of the women involved have had the chance to go to Africa themselves.

Donations to the event can be made at bit.ly/VG4Acycle or by contacting cmscott05@gmail.com.


University of Victoria students are bringing the gleam of Shinerama to the city this year.

Organizers at the Gordon Head campus have a goal of $14,000 for 2012, a total that would break the long-standing record of close to $13,000 set in the 1970s. Shinerama, which is supported at universities and colleges across Canada, has been raising money for Cystic Fibrosis Canada for almost 50 years.

It was brought back to UVic in 2009 after a six-year absence.

"Shine Day" is Sept. 8, and will feature volunteers at key locations shining shoes, singing songs and performing other activities to bring in donations.


Feting the City of Victoria's 150th anniversary will be part of the fun at a pair of neighbourhood gatherings over the next few weeks.

It begins Sept. 9 with the fifth annual Vining Street Block Party in Fernwood. Residents will be at the Vic High plaza, near Vining Street and Fernwood Road, with a garage sale, free entertainment and a silent auction.

Musical talent includes Paul O'Brien and Family, Mike Demers and Wontanara.

Proceeds go to the Community Micro Lending Society. Call 250-995-2696.

On Sept. 15, the James Bay Community School Centre, the James Bay Community Project and the James Bay New Horizons Activity Centre come together to mark the city's 150th with everything from a pancake breakfast to heritage walking tours. Events are at the school, the community project offices, Ogden Point, New Horizons and Irving Park.

For additional details or to volunteer, call 250-389-1470.


A good, old fashioned drive-in movie night is being staged at the University of Victoria to raise money for scholarships.

UVic's Centre on Aging is hosting the family event on Sept. 8 to help mark its own 20th anniversary, well as the university's landmark 50th. Funds will benefit UVic students who plan to concentrate their academic efforts on the field of aging.

The centre offers three scholarships, named for David Chuenyan Lai, Neena Chappell and Alice Lou-Poy, while a fourth, the Elaine Gallagher Scholarship, is going through the process of being endowed.

The movie will be 1992's A League of Their Own. Show-goers can also enjoy food vendors, children's attractions and funk band the New Groovement.

Gates open at 5: 30 p.m. and showtime is 7: 30 p.m. in UVic's parking lot #10, off Gordon Head Road. A donation of $10 per carload is suggested.

Space will also be available for people who prefer to leave the car at home and sit on chairs or blankets.


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