Article Text


Ten-minute chat
  1. Andrew Cobner


To mark its 50th anniversary, the British Cattle Veterinary Association (BCVA) is attempting to raise £50,000 for the charity Send A Cow. The association's president Andrew Cobner explains what the charity does and who's involved in the fundraising.

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What is Send A Cow?

Send a Cow is an international development charity with a difference. It's been working with some of Africa's poorest families for nearly 30 years, helping over 1.3 million people work their way out of extreme poverty. It provides livestock, tools, seeds and training as part of a programme giving people the hope and means to establish a future for themselves, their families and their wider communities. It is currently delivering programmes in seven African countries: Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya.

How much is BCVA hoping to raise?

£50,000. Although it would be wonderful to raise this sum, our endeavours are as much about bringing people together.

How is the money being raised?

We will cycle from Lands' End to John o' Groats between May 7 and May 20. We are encouraging supporters to sponsor our endeavours ( Donations can also be made by text, by texting BCVA50 £xx to 70070, and the sum donated will go directly to our JustGiving page.

We also have non-cyclists raising money in other ways; for example, sponsored events such as walking, running or kayaking, or by holding local fundraising events. CVO Wales Christianne Glossop will walk across Wales and a group of cyclists will ride across from the Wash to the Welsh border, so we will be traversing mainland Britain both east to west and south to north.

The UK's four CVOs are climbing Slieve Donard, the highest peak in Northern Ireland on May 18 and they will be joined by the CVO for the Republic of Ireland. In fact, May 18 will be a special day – if the weather allows – as we will divert from our route to Inverness to go to the head of Loch Ness to meet up with a kayaking supporter who is paddling the length of the Loch.

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Who's involved?

Some of us – including me – are cycling the whole way – all 964 miles – and others will join us for parts of the ride. Participants come from various organisations and communities that work with the BCVA. Vets, farmers, Defra/APHA personnel and pharmaceutical company staff, as well as friends and family are all joining in. We want this to be about the veterinary and agricultural community working together.

Also, some friends of BCVA in the USA, Canada, New Zealand and Australia are supporting us through various sponsored activities.

Can anyone join in or offer support?

The event is open to anyone who wants to join in, even if only for part of a day. It would be best to contact the BCVA Office (e-mail: to find out how you can help. You can obviously sponsor us too.

When did you last ride a bike?

Before agreeing to do this I hadn't cycled for about 40 years and even then it would have only been a few miles, so this has been a steep a learning curve and a bit of a shock for an ageing body. The first few weeks were a real struggle but once I had a few miles under my belt I joined a local cycle group – the Falmouth Wheelers – whose members have been a fantastic help. From that point on it started to become enjoyable.

How's the training going?

Training is going well. Rides of 40 miles have become normal and I've done several over 60 miles and one or two over 70. The big question, however, still remains – can I repeat this daily for 14 days?

So far, the experience has been wholly positive. I've had the chance to make a lot of new friends in the cycling community. There have been some tough days in training, but the compensation has been that I've had the chance to see parts of Cornwall that I've either never seen or not seen for a long time. Most of the time the weather has been kind and the scenery is beautiful.

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