Posted: 07.10.21 at 15:23 by Keith Busfield
At the annual Friends Day held in London at The Connection on Saturday 25th September Keith Busfield was presented with the Guy Mason Award by Charles Woodd, Chair of the Friends of the Connection. The Connection at St Martin’s is at the heart of the London’s response to homelessness. About 1 in 13 of everyone forced to sleep rough in England is found in Westminster, more than any other local authority.
Margaret Beels, Deputy Chair, explained: “The award is in memory of Guy Mason, son of long-standing Friends of The Connection Ken and Hazel Mason, who died homeless in New York. It is awarded every year to a volunteer who has made a particularly significant contribution to the Friends. This year’s Award recognises the amazing work on press and social media publicity for the Queen Eleanor Cycle Ride.”
This August Bank Holiday 32 cyclists raised over £30,000 in aid of the homeless in London and the work of The Connection at St Martin in-the-Fields. The 200 mile route retraced the path taken in 1290 by King Edward 1st in taking his wife’s body back from Harby, just outside Lincoln, to Westminster Abbey - A grand total of 200 miles. Everywhere the cortege stopped overnight the King had a cross built to provide a focus for prayers for his wife, Queen Eleanor of Castile.
Keith Busfield from Stamford first joined the ride over 10 years ago, since when it’s grown year by year. He said: “I once hit a "bump in the road" of life - out of a job and desperately looking for somewhere to stay. Someone close to me said "there's always The Connection". Thankfully things turned themselves around and life moved ahead positively. I was genuinely lucky. That’s why I’m raising money to assist the homeless”
In accepting the Award Keith said: “I am humbled to be presented the Guy Mason Award. Guy died a homeless, broken alcoholic in New York. To meet his parents, Ken and Hazel, was something special. Guy’s life literally changed with the toss of a coin.”
Ken Mason meanwhile has set his own fundraising challenge – a ride to nowhere for those with nowhere to live. Or the Tour de Ken!
Aged 84, he’s recently survived a heart attack, his knees and hips are spent, and he’s not in the best of shape. He has embarked on a year-long fundraising project in aid of homeless clients. Ken was looking to raise funds by cycling over 2,000 miles this year using his stationary Peloton bicycle in his back bedroom! His new revised goal now is to reach 3,650 miles, within 12 months, having started on April 1st.
Ken says modestly: “I’ve done my fair share of walking over the years including winning the National London to Brighton race-walking competition and becoming a member of the Centurions for athletes able to race-walk 100 miles in under 24 hours.”
He adds though: “Never before has anyone biked so far and not left the spare bedroom!”
His ride is in memory of his son, Guy, who once worked in the Twin Towers. In terms of his efforts Ken says: “Knowing that your kind contributions will help the homeless of London is reward enough.”
If you would like to support Ken’s efforts, please donate at his Virgin Giving Page www.virginmoneygiving.com/fund/tourdeken
For more information on the Queen Eleanor Cycle Ride visit www.queeneleanorcycleride.org
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