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Riding for Change

Sophie is part of #TeamPF on 4th August as she cycles 100 miles as part of the Prudential RideLondon 100 challenge. PF’s Communications Officer, Fiona, caught up with her recently to find out why she’d signed up.

Sophie, many of our supporters will recognise you from your Sycamore Tree video, and know a bit of your story. What are you up to these days?

I work as a Support Manager, supporting vulnerable people back into work. I have also become the foster parent for my nieces this past year, something I didn’t think I would be able to do because of my record, but am grateful is possible.

You are going to be cycling 100 miles to raise money for Prison Fellowship. Have you always been a cyclist?

I cycled a lot as a child, all the way until I went to prison. My last year of my sentence, I was on the ROTL scheme and I kept asking to be able to bike to work instead of taking the bus, but it wasn’t allowed!

I have an addictive personality, and cycling is something that makes me feel good but is also healthy. It also gives me headspace. It’s probably some of the only time I am not connected to technology, and so there is time to do all this processing.

I’ve only been endurance cycling for the past five years or so. I accidentally signed up for a London to Paris bike ride in 2014 and then had to go through with it! The following year I did a London to Amsterdam race, and last year I cycled from Vietnam to Cambodia.

Wow! After all those races, what is special about RideLondon100?

I believe this will actually be the first time I am doing 100 miles in one day. On the London to Paris ride, we stopped just short of that and so this will be my first century! Also, I have only begun training for this race eight weeks before it
begins, so it will be hard.

I think if you are going to do something to fundraise, it should be difficult. Charities exist because people are in hardship and need support, so you should be doing something hard, too.

You did the Sycamore Tree course while you were in prison. Why are you choosing to ride for Prison Fellowship now?

Doing the Sycamore Tree course had a profound and lasting impact on me. It has shaped me into the person I am now. It’s been eleven years since I did the course, and it is still paying into my daily life.

I want to give something back for all the Sycamore Tree tutors and facilitators gave to me. And I want to show everyone still involved that results will happen further down the line, that even if they don’t see the change immediately, they are making an investment in people, and change can happen.

What could you do?

Has Sophie’s story inspired you to fundraise for PF? Could you run a marathon, bake cakes, jump out of a plane?

The PF Support Team would love to hear about your creative fundraising ideas and they can even help make your event a success! Contact them on 020 7799 2500 or

“I can honestly say that I never had as much satisfaction when I worked as I do now as a volunteer.” — Arthur, Chaplaincy Support volunteer

Volunteer with PF

Volunteers are the life-blood of our organisation, and what they do in the lives of those in prison and as they pray, is incredibly valuable. If you are looking to use your time to support some of the most marginalised people in our society to transform their lives, then volunteering could be for you.

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