Watt A Challenge: Rugby Star Ewan Dowes (W 97-99) Raises £20K for Charity

Ewan Dowes (W 97-99) was recently among a host of former players who attempted to cycle on wattbikes for 30 consecutive hours to raise funds for the Motor Neurone Disease Association.

Ewan decided to inspire a world record attempt of 25 people spending 30 consecutive hours on a static bike after his former teammates Rob Burrow and Adam Maher were both previously diagnosed with the disease.

The static bike world record is 28 hours, however the parameters were slightly different due to all riders being in the same studio. Given the social distancing measures, Ewan and his team attempted the feat via social media, aiming for 30 hours.

Ewan, a former Leeds and Hull FC prop, was also coached in the early days of his rugby union career by Doddie Weir, who is currently battling the disease.

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So when a group including fellow former Super League stars Keith Senior, Chev Walker, Wayne Godwin, Carl Forster and Garreth Carvell, got together after other planned cycling events were cancelled this summer, he had no hesitation.

Ewan explained: “I remember meeting Joost van der Westhuizen when I was about 18 years old in South Africa and it was so sad and shocking to see how he deteriorated.

“Doddie Weir coached me a bit when I was a young lad, there was Adam passing away in February and Rob getting his diagnosis at the back end of last year.

“It’s frightening and close to all our hearts, and we all want to do our bit for Rob. We want to generate some awareness of the disease, and raise some funds to ultimately help find a cure for it.

“When I looked into it further I couldn’t believe how little information or treatment there still is for it.

“I do a lot of work with the Joining Jack charity for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, which is another horrible degenerative disease.

“The clock is ticking for everybody that suffers and the sooner we have a breakthrough or slow them down the better.”

Ewan’ support for Joining Jack – the charity set up former Wigan player Andy Johnson and his wife Alex to help their son – saw him take on a similar test of endurance last month.

Ewan, Paul Sculthorpe and Jamie Jones-Buchanan already completed 26 hours on wattbikes as their take on the recent 2.6 challenge in May.

He explained: “I’ve been saying to everyone that’s doing it, you can’t train for sitting on a bike for that long.”

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Congratulations to Ewan and all involved on an outstanding effort.

Click here to read the original article from The Mirror, and here to contribute to Ewan’s JustGiving page.


Alice Kerr (R 07-12) Sets Up Her Own Mountaineering Business

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Congratulations to Alice Kerr (R 07-12) who’s new mountaineering business recently launched its own website.

“My aim is to teach, coach and inspire others to take full advantage of the adventures that are on offer to us in the best way possible. I design each course around you – the client – making sure that you get as much as possible out of your time with us,” Alice says.

Based between North Wales, the Lake District and Scotland, courses are run all over the UK.​

“I spend my life outdoors, exploring new places and going on adventures. From rock climbing, mountaineering and hill walking, all the way to mountain biking, scrambling and fell running, I spend my personal and work life in the mountains.

As a qualified Mountaineering Instructor, my job has taken to me to many inspiring places and provided me with experiences that I wouldn’t trade for anything.”


James Jackson’s (H 97-02) Payment Provider Auto Service Finance Secures Debt and Equity Deal Worth Over £14m

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CEO and co-founder of automotive payment provider, Auto Service Finance, James Jackson (pictured above, right), recently announced that his company is set for further growth after securing its largest backing to date in the form of a debt and equity deal worth over £14 million.

The company, which uses its platform to provide car dealerships in the UK with an interest free payment solution for customers when servicing their vehicles, has secured £850,000 through equity given to private investors, taking its total investment to £4 million since its launch, as well as a further £13.3 million debt facility. The facility was provided by London based Naviter Capital, which is also one of the equity investors.

The investment comes after a sustained period of growth for the automotive fin-tech start-up, which has seen UK car dealerships use its loan platform as a buy now pay later (BNPL) option to sell £50 million worth of service work since its launch in 2015 – an area of the business that also grew 100% year-on-year in 2019. Auto Service Finance is now used by more than 2,000 dealership sites in the UK, including sites belonging to brands such as Jaguar Land Rover, Peugeot Citroën, Ford and Vauxhall, and has also started working with Volkswagen Group brands across the country. Dealerships typically pay a percentage of the work sold using ASF to the company.

“Dealerships are going through a particularly difficult time at the moment amid the ongoing impact of the Coronavirus and while this will lead to an unavoidable short term slowdown in aftersales activity many have already recognised the longer term importance of adopting interest-free payment methods within their service departments. This is especially important when it comes to selling work that they would have otherwise missed out on,” James said.

“In the short term we’re committed to helping provide dealers that are still offering aftersales support with the ability to offer their customers flexible payment methods, something that will be beneficial to both vehicle owners and dealerships alike in the challenging times ahead. This has included developing a fund to help vulnerable customers by discounting their final repayment bills during the ongoing pandemic. Beyond this, we aim to increase both our footprint and the utilisation of our platform across the UK.”

“Following our success in the UK, an expansion into Europe is the next logical step once the time is right, and we’re hoping the reputation we have created for ourselves with major manufacturer brands will be a big asset here.” Click here for the full story.


Amelia Bolton (L 06-11) Raises £900 For Charity Run

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A big congratulations to Milly Bolton (L 06-11) who last month raised some £900 for The Trussell Trust while running the equivalent of the 21km (13mi) she was due to run for the cancelled Hackney Half Marathon. The Tussell Trust a NGO and charity that works to end the need for food banks in the UK.

Prior to the run, Milly said, “I’m going to attempt the 21km that I would have been running in Hackney and hope that the cheering from my family will be enough to get me round the course as opposed to the huge crowds that would have been at the real event!”

Click here to view Milly’s fundraiser. Well done!


The Country Food Trust Raises Over £330,000 For Charity Meals

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Sebastian Newall (SH 05-10) is an ambassador for The Country Food Trust – a charity that helps feed those people in need. Within a month, the charity was able to distribute 325,000 meals to charities and raise over £300,000 – with an additional 100,000 meals set for distribution in the coming weeks. To learn more about The Country Food Trust and to support their fantastic Coronavirus Appeal, click here.


Video (ITV): Mike Biggar (S 63-68) Takes On Walking Challenge To Raise Money For NHS

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As reported earlier, former Scotland rugby captain, Mike Biggar (S 63-68), who suffered life changing injuries in a car crash in 1992, is taking on a walking challenge to raise money for the NHS during the coronavirus outbreak.

Despite his limited mobility, Mike is attempting to walk 500 steps in a month. Inspired by veteran Captain Tom Moore, who raised more than £33 million for the NHS – Mr Biggar told ITV News: “If he can do it, why can’t I?”

He says the NHS saved him then and now he wants to pay them back as medics work through the coronavirus crisis.

The former rugby player told ITV News when you “apply yourself […] things happen,” adding “you’re surprised when you can do it”.

The 70-year-old was capped 24 times for Scotland between 1975 and 1980.

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His wife, Ali Biggar, told ITV News she could already see the impact the challenge is having on her husband’s health.

“It’s fantastic to see him coming back, see his muscles building up again,” she said.

“I’m really proud of him, he’s doing so well”.

Mr Biggar is nearing his daily record of 42 steps and hopes to surpass his monthly target.

The fundraiser has raised at least £70,000 so far, with funds going towards purchasing technology for hospital patients to help them keep in contact with their loved ones.

Click here for the full report and here to visit Mike’s JustGiving page, where he has already raised some £74,000.


Ella Ferguson (R 09-14) Runs Manchester Half Marathon Equivalent For Breast Cancer Charity

A big congratulations to Ella Ferguson (R 09-14) who recently ran the distance of would have been the Manchester Half Marathon in support of the Prevent Brest Cancer Charity. A fantastic effort!


SSFC International and Professional Squad 2019/2020

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The annual SSFC International Squad has recently been updated to display all current international players representing various sides around the world. The OS Club would like to congratulate each of the above Old Sedberghians in recognition of what they have achieved this year on an individual basis and should be very proud of their inclusion in the various National squads.