Croydon student cycle in memory of tram crash victim

Winners at last year’s festival. Pic: Surrey County Council (Flickr)

Former and current students from the same school as the first victim of Croydon’s devastating tram crash last year are to take part in a cycling festival this summer.

Teachers, students and friends from Meridian High School in New Addington were saddened when former pupil Dane Chinnery, 19, was the first named victim of the Croydon tram incident last November. The derailment caused seven other fatalities and 58 injuries, three of these also attended the school.

Pupils were touched by the tragic event last November and have now been given an opportunity to focus on a brighter future by taking part in the ‘Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 46’ this July.

The event consists of a 46-mile route on traffic-free roads, starting at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in east London and finishing in The Mall, Westminster.

Students and teachers will be provided with bikes, equipment, nutrition advice and training as part of a new PruGoals programme, a partnership between education charity Teach First and Prudential.

This partnership with Teach First has allowed more than 20 Meridian students to be at the start line in the capital for the world’s biggest cycling festival.

Headteacher Martin Giles said to South West Londoner: “We’re very proud and privileged to be part of this amazing event, we’ve got 23 students taking part and had plenty more wanting to join them, so to have the most of any group is excellent.

“A number of our students were directly and indirectly affected by the tram incident, and it was very traumatic for what is a very close-knit community.

“I’ve been the headteacher for more than two years, and day-by-day I feel incredibly proud and this has just added heaps to that, taking to the event with gusto,” he said.

Charlie Cooper, one of the Meridian High School pupils taking part in the event, said to South West Londoner: “I got involved because I thought it would be a good opportunity to take part in a sport I’ve never done before while being involved with something fun.

“It should be a fantastic experience, some of my friends and I have got some competition going but the main priority is just getting over the finish line,” he added.

The event was created as an alternative to the RideLondon-Surrey 100 event for new and younger cyclists an opportunity who might find the 100-mile challenge difficult.

It follows the same route as the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 for the first 27 miles before diverting onto a new route that joins with the RideLondon 100 for the last 17 miles.

If you would like to enter the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 46, visit here.

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