Call for cyclists to go the distance for low-income kids

KEEN cyclists are invited to join a charity ride later this month to raise money for The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund (SPMF).

The route for the Feb 25 event will include the soon-to-be-opened park connectors in the north-east of the island.

Among the pack will be avid cyclist Han Jok Kwang, 57, who initiated the annual ride in 2008.

Mr Han, chief information officer of tech firm Venture Corporation, became a trustee of the SPMF board last year. He is spearheading the event for the fourth time and, buoyed by the encouraging amounts raised in previous years, he hopes it will raise $35,000 this year.

So far, 25 cyclists have signed up and about $10,000 has been pledged.

The previous three charity rides for the SPMF raised between $33,000 and $75,000 each for the SPMF.

Said Mr Han: 'I'm not doing it just because I'm a trustee. I have always believed in the cause of the School Pocket Money Fund. I just feel very strongly that children deserve to be schooled to their full potential.'

The fund gives children from low-income families a monthly sum to help with their school-related expenses, such as food and transport fares. Beneficiaries in primary school receive $55 a month, while those in secondary school get $90.

Recent donations or pledges to the fund include $75,000 from Far East Organization, $20,500 from OCBC Bank staff, and $2,500 from graduating biologics and process technology students at Nanyang Polytechnic.

Mr Han, who describes his cycling initiative as a 'one-man operation', said the National Parks Board, which manages the park connectors, has been very helpful in identifying the route and helping with the logistics.

The cycle ride is open to riders aged 12 and above. For more information and to register, e-mail jokkwang@gmail.com

ANG YIYING