Nine brave employees from the Sheraton Algarve Hotel set off on their bikes recently for a long distance ride to the new Sheraton Hotel in Porto. Travelling to Évora on the first day and passing through Castelo Branco, Guarda and Lamenga during the five-day bike ride, the cyclists completed 700km in total. The group cycle marathon is in aid of the Nobel Primary School in Baucau, East Timor, which requires renovation, as the school facilities are so limited. The team hope to raise a total of 50,000 euros, which will pay for the construction of six new classrooms and a library. So far, around 20,000 euros has been collected from various fundraising events and generous donations.
The decision to raise money for the school came after Fernando Horta, chief engineer for Sheraton Algarve, and Bishop D. Ximenes Belo, the 1996 Nobel peace prize winner, visited East Timor and were shocked by the school’s lack of facilities. Speaking to The Resident, Guido De Wilde, (pictured here) area manager for Starwood Hotels and Resorts and general manager of the Sheraton Algarve, commented: “We hope that, by organising these various fundraising events, we can provide the children of Baucau with a better education and future.” Three-time Portugal Volta champion, Alves Barbosa, now 78, also joined the Sheraton cyclists at Lamego for the last leg of the ride, to help contribute to the worthy cause.
This initiative is one of many separate events organised by the hotel group, all of which are focused on helping the children of Baucau. “The next stage of the fundraising is to involve all the schools across the Algarve in various events, which will include tombolas and raffles. The prizes will vary, but there will be weekends away at our hotels for the children’s parents to enjoy. We want to get as much support as possible – it is a very worthy cause,” explained Eduardo Bárbara, public relations co-ordinator for the Sheraton Algarve Hotel.
The event attracted reporters from both SIC and TVI television channels and Bárbara commented that, wherever the cyclists paused for a breather, the crowds were all very excited, welcoming and pleased to be involved. In another effort to raise funds for the school, the three Starwood hotels in Portugal (Sheraton Algarve, Lisbon and Porto) have opened an account so that anybody interested in supporting this action can help. Donations for the Nobel Primary School in Baucau, East Timor, can be deposited in account no. 45262436627at any branch of the Banco Comercial Português.