Finlay out to Kathmandu his best for Nepal school

10 year old Finlay Bendit
10 year old Finlay Bendit
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A TEN-year-old boy has raised hundreds of pounds for a vital community centre and school in Nepal – by cycling 91 miles in one day.

Finlay Bendit completed the trip in ten hours to raise as much money as possible for the centre in Kathmandu Valley, which provides help to children who have been abandoned, orphaned, suffer leprosy or mental health problems.

As if the challenge wasn’t tough enough for the youngster, Finlay completed the cycle while battling against the strong winds and heavy rain caused when the tail-end of Hurricane Katia hit Scotland.

The Edinburgh Steiner School pupil’s mission was made harder still by the map-reading skills of his father, Jonathan, who cycled with him.

The pair set off from Portobello and finished in St Andrews after clocking up extra miles by avoiding busy traffic routes.

Finlay said: “The cycle ride was tiring, wet and rainy but fun.

“I wasn’t sure that dad would be up to it, especially as he isn’t very fit and his map reading isn’t very good, so he kept taking us up big hills by mistake.

“But the promise of fish and chips in St Andrews and all the money coming in for the school in Nepal if I made it kept me going.”

The youngster has already raised £400 for his efforts, which will be added to the rest of the money raised by his classmates for the charity.

Class teacher Leonie Le Maistre said: “It was Finlay’s idea to do the cycle. He did 50 miles last year and wanted to do more this year.

“All his classmates think he is great and are very proud of him, though he is very humble about it.”

Finlay’s class has been taking special cookery lessons to prepare for a charity banquet this Friday to raise funds for the Shanti Seva Griha initiative.

Members of the public will have the chance to sample the traditional Nepalese food cooked by the children, with up to 100 guests expected to attend. It is hoped the charity meal will raise around £1500.

Along with the money raised by Finlay, this will be sent to Nepal next week.

Miss Le Maistre added: “At present, we are learning about Nepalese culture including mythology, food, history, songs and music, so when we heard about Shanti Seva Griha, the pupils were keen to help.

“We developed the idea of a Nepalese banquet to further immerse our pupils in the country and its traditions.

“We are inviting the public to join us for a traditional Nepalese meal called dal bhat, which consists of rice, lentils and vegetables.

“We are delighted that a chef from Namaste Kathmandu, the renowned Nepalese Restaurant on Forrest Road, will be teaching our pupils how to make the dish in their professional kitchens.”

gfraser@edinburghnews.com