French ride leaves lads well CHUFfed

A PONTELAND teenager hit the heights twice during the summer.

As well as achieving top grades in his A-Level exams, Adam Barker cycled 841 miles from northern to southern France to raise money for the Freeman Hospital’s Children’s Heart Unit Fund (CHUF).

The Darras Hall resident, who will attend Cambridge University, teamed up with fellow Ponteland High School student Dan Barber to travel from Calais to Nice.

The trek got even tougher when they reached the Alps, but they successfully managed to climb the highest paved road in Europe – the 2,860m (9,383ft) Col de La Bonette near St Etienne.

And they were delighted to finish the ride after 12 days.

Adam said: “It started off as a passing idea, but when we talked about it a bit more we decided to go for it and plan the route.

“Once we finished our A-Level exams we did some intensive training around the hills of Stamfordham, which was very useful preparation.

“It was definitely an experience of a lifetime as we took on challenges that we had never faced before, such as fending for ourselves and dealing with a different culture.

“It was tough at times, but we were determined to get to Nice and heading towards the sun was an uplifting thought.”

Another student, Andrew Smith, started with them, but had to drop out after a fall on day three.

All three have received donations and a website – – was set up to help with the fund-raising. Around £500 has been collected so far.

The 18-year-old got A* grades in maths, further maths and physics and received an A for chemistry. He will read natural sciences as it allows him to continue studying all his A-Level subjects and choose what to specialise in later in his degree.

“It was great to see two years of hard work pay off with my results,” he added. “I needed an A* and three As so I made sure I put the hours in to get the grades, although they were a bit better than I expected.”