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Op Grapple Revisited - Gorazde Memorial Ride 27th - 30th April 2023
The aim of the bike ride was to continue raising funds to help with the progression of renovating the school, following on from the success of the trip in 2019 and 2022, which saw riders' cycle roughly 80km through the Bosnian mountains. The collective efforts of all of the riders helped to raise the funds for the Goražde Primary School to construct a new English Language Centre, a fully equipped Chemistry and Biology Classroom and provide 16 computer screens for the school.
In 2023, the bike ride began from Vijećnica (Sarajevo City Hall) to Hrenovica, through to Bijele Vode before finishing at the Goražde School. The route will take us on a beautiful journey through the mountains, around the Miljacka River, and ending in the eastern city of Goražde. The day after the bike ride there was a memorial service to honour the six fallen and those that served, with the unveiling of a new memorial high above the town of Gorazde.
The new memorial
The 2023 Ride
GCF Bosnia was established to honour the soldiers of the British Army that gave their lives on United Nations operational service in 1994 when protecting the central Bosnian enclave and city of Gorazde.
To honour the fallen, the charity was founded to support the children’s school in Gorazde, to inspire these children, and through its support create opportunities for them to live their dreams and fulfil their ambitions. To date over GBP £106,500.00 has been raised for the school, being allocated to the refurbishment of the playground’s football pitch, the chemistry laboratory and the creation of an English language laboratory and classroom. The 2023 ride will be raising funds for upgrading the gymnasium and resurfacing the playground.
At sunrise on April 28th 2023 GCF Bosnia will bring together a team of 50 committed to completing a 80km charity ride between the cities of Sarajevo and Gorazde. The ride will take the cyclists through the fields and valleys of Bosnia, rising into its mountains and dropping down into the city, finishing at the school, to be welcomed by its children.
The charity has agreed a list of priorities with the school, which will be met by the continuing fundraising event. More details can be provided upon request. However, making better the environment of some very tired classrooms, providing tools so that the teachers can be more effective and increasing the present stock of 24 aging and outdated 8-year-old computers that support the entire school of 736 pupils, upgrading the gymnasium and resurfacing the playground are insights into these priorities.
As part of this event, and the fully inclusive self-funded package to participate, brand new bicycles will be provided at a significant discount by the leading cycle shop chain in Bosnia. The group will ride these to Gorazde, where they will be presented to the school, to initiate and establish a cycle club that will serve to promote exercise and healthier living in the area.
On April 29th, the day after the cycle ride and having stayed in mountain lodges above the city the night before, a new memorial will be opened in honour of the 6 British soldiers that gave their lives on United Nations duty in 1994.
The chosen memorial site will be co-located with an established memorial for one the soldiers that died – Private Ben Hinton.
A new viewing platform, with benches, a memorial plaque and a panorama map will be dedicated, with the townsfolk, local dignitaries, and representation from the U.K. Bosnian Embassy, U.K. Armed Forces, and hopefully Bosnian Armed Forces, in attendance. A proportion of funds raised will be allocated to this memorial.
All riders will be expected to attend and give their support for this key event.
Whilst the principal objectives of the trip are the cycle ride and memorial, other activities are being organised by the GCF charity to provide a fully enriched experience of your time in Bosnia and Herzegovina, including a river trip on the Drina and visits to Cemetery Valley, Samarai and Sarajevo Old Town.