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Bristol 2 Beijing

6 February 2020

Our Years 7 and 8 were greeted by the surprising sight of a tandem bicycle in our Main Hall today.

The reason for its presence became clear when our external speaker, Luke, explained he is using the tandem to cycle from Bristol to Beijing. Yet the motive behind Luke’s gruelling trip was the subject of a moving lecture in assembly, raising a smile and inspiring awe from our pupils.

Luke began by talking about his childhood, resulting in much amusement amongst our pupils when he recalled how much homework he used to have in Years 7 and 8! After studying at Durham University, he went to teach English in Siberia so, at this point in his lecture, Luke asked if there were any Westminster City School pupils present with connections to Russia. Given that our pupil body has links to over 100 different countries, he was not disappointed, and was able to exchange some words in Russian with one pupil.

Luke explained how he had always been physically active, even taking part in an ultra-marathon. He ignored an unusual ache in his left shoulder until May 2018, when he finally sought medical advice. Within 48 hours, Luke was having a biopsy in the UK and, in June 2018, he was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer.

At this point, Luke’s talk drew gasps from our pupils, yet he explained that advice from his father, on making the most of life, helped him. Whilst undergoing chemotherapy, surgery and radiotherapy, he started a Masters at Oxford and even ran a half marathon. He is now cycling from Bristol to Beijing to raise money for four different cancer charities. His tandem partners, throughout his journey, will be other young people who are also living with cancer.

Luke’s impressive plan led to further admiration from our pupils, as he outlined how he will cycle 23,000km, across 24 different countries. He named different countries that he’ll travel through, asking our pupils to raise their hand if they had a connection to these nations. Again, our multi-cultural Westminster City School pupils did not disappoint!

Luke ended his incredibly inspirational talk by challenging our pupils to create their own opportunities in life. We wish him all the best on his amazing journey and will eagerly follow his Bristol to Beijing cycle ride via his website at: https://bristol2beijing.org/

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