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Tour de Pedro

tlc's Toby Brown raises money on the 2015 Tour de Pedro




An Old Pennell Legend, Peter Westropp passed away after a freak accident 4 days before his 28th birthday. 4 years on, on what would have been his 32nd birthday on 14th August, 2015 an all OE team: Tom Robinson Capt (G,96), Oli Cripps (W,99), Stuart Dunk (C,96), Freddie Southwell (W,96), Rowland Stripp (W,96), Charlie West (C,96), John Bradford (R,96), Toby Brown (R,96), David Morehen (R,96), Thady Voorspuy (R,96), and an Honorary Pennell Personality and all round Eastbourne wannabe, Mr Andrew Hughes embarked on the 'Tour de Pedro in honour of our friend and to raise money for The Carer’s Trust: The Westropp’s chosen charity. 

But what is the Tour de Pedro? Well, in short, a gruelling 600 mile cycle to be endured by 11 slightly overweight 32 year olds over the course of 8 days…with little to no training in the legs. Sound Fun? 

Rowls, Robbo, Westy, Bradders, Crippsy (Jared), Hughesy and I made up the magnificent seven who rather radically decided 8 months ago to cycle round England, stopping off in places which were significant to Pete’s life and hence trace out a ‘Tour de Pedro’. Freddie Southwell (a former King of College Field) valiantly was our Man in a Van (his Van: www.wildseasoning.co.uk) who provided us with constant support throughout. Niké …I mean Dunky, Thads, Dave and even my girlfriend Faye joined us on various days to inspire some pace back into our weary legs.

We started our 600 mile feet from the hallowed turf of College Field where we were presented with our multi rainbow coloured jerseys (A special fashion sense of Pete’s) and had a classic Stag team photo in front of the Long Room with David Stewart, who seemed to have grown even taller since we last saw him incredibly, and after a quick chat about how Hugo was doing, a quick top up of Chamois cream and a quick snap in front of Pennell we were off.

Even before we were riding past the Pier that morning, the nightmarish fear of why we were even contemplating this madness had already dissolved. I think we all jointly sensed this was going to be something we were going to achieve as a team and remember it for the rest of our lives. The initial sight of 9 dashing young men on their flying machines in front of me, the seaside at our side and smiles on all of our faces was a truly inspiring one. A pure and true team spirit; one I had not experience since our unbeaten year of 2000 on the rugby pitch!

From the sunshine cost we rode north, under the stage leadership of Dave Morehen who took us up the cuckoo trail (one of his favourite chat up lines) and headed through some delicious Sussex countryside and after a brief stop for some nutritious ‘seasoning’ courtesy of Fred Southwell (AKA Regan), we rode on to Bromley for the evening to Pete’s family home to celebrate his birthday with them. We were rather drenched when we were arrived as the good old English summer had had its way with us 10 miles from their home, but we were warmly greeted by John and Marion Westropp and our team mascot Chutney (their golden Labrador). They treated us to a royal feast that evening as we exchanged ‘Pete’ stories and many laughs but by the time it got to 9.30pm our heads were already hitting the table with the thought of another 70 miles starting at 6am. 

Stage captain changed hands to ‘The General’ Rowland Strip for our next mission and what a mission it was having to cycle almost vertically up Crystal Palace hill 10 minutes into our journey. From Bromley we headed to Oxford, crossing south east and then south west London stopping at Pete’s place of death in Clapham for a moment’s silence. After a brief ‘organic’ and regrettable breakfast in Ealing and a few rather rough miles through Sunny Southall and Uxbridge, where you can rely on a Macdonalds on literally every corner, we were soon riding through ‘England’s green and pleasant land’ again. All of us, bar Dunky, were relative novices at this cycling game and it was just outside of Oxford where I realised what a team sport it was as the ‘Peloton Assembled’ for the first time. Somehow we formed in slick unison and the pedals started peddling themselves. For 10 miles I felt like a chubby Chris Froome! We arrived in Oxford, where Pete did his Masters,  to discover the luxurious accommodation Rowls had booked us into. Despite being 8 men that night, the General thought it wise, for team bonding clearly, to only book 6 beds in a university flat. Fortunately I pulled the long straw and set up for the night with Crippsy in a snuggly single bed… but what goes on tour…Thanks to Thady on this stage for taking over the ‘support vehicle’ charge that day. 

We had decided to hire a Garmin sat nav for our trip who we affectional called Gary: yes, that’s right, Gary the Garmin. Despite our affection for Gary however, he had a tendency of playing tricks on us. On the first day he led Dave (and us as a result) to what can only be called a sheer mountain which even professional mountain bikers couldn’t tackle, let alone a bunch of road biking blokes who consistently struggle to get their clips on. We walked that one. However, on days 3, 4 and 5 Gary really did his best to extend our journey as much as possible, either by regularly freezing at crucial turning points or simply deciding to take us cross country on mountain bike paths. Day 3, 4 and 5 were my days in charge. 

Marshalling us from Oxford, up to Leamington Spa (a great favourite for the lads), Nuneaton, through the midlands passing Nottingham and even Magnificent Mansfield (where I would highly recommend going to for a Thai Green Curry on a Monday evening if you ever get the chance) were all just about manageable by Gary and I. However, my bleeping friend really didn’t like the North of England at all. One place which will forever remain famous for Pedro’s men was Coalville. Coalville lives up to it’s name : a town with coal and was not the prettiest of England’s lands we visited. It was unfortunate therefore that Gary gave us a full 40 minute circular tour of Coalville enabling us to see the same bridge we had crossed underneath at the start and finish of that 40 minute tour. Arriving at that bridge for the second time first was rather more amusing to me than it was to Bradders and Westy!

We said goodbye to Dunky just before arriving in Leeds on day 5 when the heavens opened. Pete was obviously having a good laugh at us up there! For 25 miles, through some pretty grim, grey, northern streets, which again Gary seemed very unfamiliar with, our wet wheels trudged on but with great determination and comradery we arrived at some rather more civilised accommodation Westy had booked us into just after 4pm…we even had our own beds!

That night Leeds was Eastbourne’s and we painted the town blue and white knowing we had a mere 40 miles to do the next day down to delightful Doncaster. Walking round that city that night, I think we could all see why Pete enjoyed going to Uni there. A vibrant destination full of colour and welcoming locals. Robbo, who went to Leeds with Pete on the other hand didn’t seem to remember anything about the place despite spending 3 years there…but perhaps that’s a great complement to Leeds’ hospitality. 

The General was in charge of day 6 and took us on a scenic tour of the North’s great canal paths. Leaving at noon that day we only had 40 miles to do so we thought we would take it easy. However after a couple of hours of cycling at 3 miles per hour we hadn’t gone far (about 6 miles in fact). A few punctures later it was 7.30pm and one of our longest days in the saddle…but hey, at least Rowls had booked us into a luxury 5 * resort in Doncaster…no, wait, it was the Holiday Inn. He did splash out on beds for all though!

Day 7, the commander of the hills and in fact general cycling, Oli Cripps took over Gary with casual disregard and led us over 90 miles to Leicestershire. Though riding through some breath-taking countryside, this was a day of two halves. The first: smooth, flat and fast. I think we did our best team cycling that morning and really felt proud of this when we arrived at Pete’s Uncle and Aunt’s country kingdom 10 miles from Lincoln in Norton Disney for lunch. Their overwhelming generosity in the food and drink department however was the beginning of a long second half for the team.   The flats turned to hills and wind was at our face, though thinking about it: the wind really did seem to be in our face on every day of the tour! The last few miles took a few rotations longer that afternoon.

That evening we were hosted by Joe Jonson and his family at their farm in the heart of Leicester in Great Dalby. Joe (Shabs) was a great friend of Pete’s at Leeds and he made us all very welcome. In return, our resident celebratory chef Head Southwell cooked us all up a wild lamb feast on the BBQ. Fortunately, my girlfriend joined us that evening and being the birthday girl was rewarded by a night in a private flat on site (which I bunked into by chance)…the rest of the gang went barn bound to bed…again at around 9pm (our general head nodding curfew). 

Just before bed however, knowing that Uppingham was only 10 miles down the road (or up and down the road as it turned out), I emailed Charlie Bostock, now the Registrar there and formally a great Housematser, Biology Chief and Athletics supremo at the College, to see if he and the now Headmaster, Richard Harman at Uppingham might be around for a cuppa in the morning. 5 minutes later the booming voice called and insisted that we all come round to his house at 8.30am for sausages and as much tea as we could drink.  It was wonderful to see our multi coloured trousered Master again. He hadn’t changed a bit and we could hear that laugh half a mile before we reached him. Claire, his wife, had indeed prepared a sausage feast and Head kindly came along too. Uppingham was my Father’s school and he always speaks so fondly of his time there; it was wonderful to see it at first hand…their rugby pitch wasn’t a patch on College field though! 

After being a loud critic of former ‘Gary handlers’, Bradders was large and in charge on Day 8, but after a long, free whiz down a hill halfway through the day only to meet a rushing motorway and a consensus ruling not to ride it and therefore, having to then whiz/paddle back up the hill, he realised Gary really did have a mind of his own. This was in fact our hardest day. Lots of hills and another 90 miles to Cambridge to power through. The ‘Fred stops’ were much needed on this day loading up with as many nut bars, Lucozades and mini packets of Haribo as our bellys and back pockets could take. There was even an introduction of Pepparami sticks that day which gave us a blast from the past!

The miles from Great Dalby to Cambridge counted down steadily though and just before we arrived 10 miles out in Orwell, we once again met up with John, Marion and our four legged friend Chutters. Orwell was where Pete was christened and where his folks were married and so we had half a shandy to toast them all. It was all downhill all the way into into Cambridge City and I formed a very enjoyable breakway Peloton with Hughesy and Jared to lead the charge to St Catharine's College where Bradders had booked us in for the night to make us feel like scholars for our last evening.

After a juicy steak and a couple more shandies by the river though it was soon 9pm and past our bedtimes and there was no celebrating yet. 60 odd miles down to The Emirates Stadium was in our grasps but the Arsenal fans weren’t cheering yet.

For our last day Thady and Dave joined us again (This time Thads on 2 wheels rather than 4). We once again had a fast first half, speeding through the flats outside of Cambridge and reaching our final lunch destination well before schedule. It was a hot summer’s day finally and whilst sitting by the river at 12.30pm the sirens were singing to us to stay there all day but the Gunners of Highbury were chanting louder. Our last stretch was a strangely arduous one: flat as a pancake but long and relentless along the canal path for 20 miles into Central London. However, once we turned off it was only 4 miles to go! 

Riding into Emirates, our DJ on tour, Hughesy, blasted out ‘The Whole of the Moon’ (Pete’s favourite song) as we free wheeled round the ‘whole’ stadium (fortunately Arsenal weren’t playing that day!). As we did, the tears welled up; we had done it: 600 miles exactly as it turned out (thanks to that Coalville circuit)…we had done it for Pete.

Marion, John, Chutney and Pete’s brother Charlie (an OE also), new son George Peter Westropp and fiancée Lydia greeted us at the main gates with glasses full of bubbles and hugs for all. 

Knowing Pete’s love for Arsenal, his university friends had arranged for a plaque to be laid there couple of years ago. It simply reads: Peter Westropp: 1983-2011: LEGEND. On 22nd August, 2015 at 4.30pm, we laid down next to him for a final photograph leaving a gap for our legendary technicoloured friend

What I imagined would be a nightmare week turned out to be a week I will dream of forever…we all will.  Oh, to be back at school!


So far we have raised over £7500 for The Carer’s Trust. If you would like to give a few more pounds however please log onto either:   

(Until November 2015)

or donate through the Peter Westropp website.

Thank you

Toby Brown



And they've finished! The guys made it to their final stop, Pete's plaque at Arsenal. They managed to squeeze in a quick stop at Pete's Aunt and Uncle's house in Norton Disney near Lincoln. They also passed through historic Cambridge before their last stop in London. Congratulations! #TourDePedro


The guys are still happy and fresh faced as they ended Day 6 in Doncaster. #TourDePedro




Day 6 is well under way and with only 3 days left the guys havent got far to go. Today the guys made a quick cultural stop to the Brotherton Library in Leeds. #TourDePedro


Over half way through their epic journey across the country, the guys started feeling a bit low north of Sheffield today. They also encountered a little rain but that doesn't stop them. With Day 5 under their tyres it is onto the next stop #TourDePedro


The guys are on Day 5 already! Yesterday they made their stretch from Nuneaton to Mansfield, spending some quality time with the locals once again. This time Toby met the lovely Susan who he met in a place called Heather (or maybe the other way round) #TourDePedro


The guys got off to a great start as they embarked on their 600 mile journey across the country. As it was Pete's birthday on 14th August, they stopped off to visit Pete's parents to share some much deserved cake.  The guys also got to spend some time with the locals in Leamington Spa and sailed through Blenheim Palace. Next stop: Mansfield. #TourDePedro


Today is the day! The grand departure from Eastbourne marks the start of their 600 mile journey. The guys also stumbled across the appropriately named 'Pains Hill' #TourDePedro





This Friday, Toby Brown and 9 of his school friends, will embark on a 9 day, 600 mile cycle across the country to raise money for The Peter Westropp Memorial Trust, set up in honour of their late friend.

An old school friend of tlc Estate Agents' Toby Brown, Peter Westropp, sadly passed away after a freak accident days before his 28th birthday. 4 years on, on 14th August this year, an old Eastbournian team made up of Tom Robinson, Oli Cripps, Stuart Dunk, Freddie Southwell, David Morehen, Rowland Stripp, Charlie West, Thady Voorspuy, John Bradford and Toby himself, will embark on the 'Tour de Pedro'.

They will start a 600 mile cycle from their old college field in Eastbourne and embark on a journey over nine days to pay homage to the towns, cities and other places that were important to Pete. 

But why would they do this? Well, Pete's family and friends have set up The Peter Westropp Memorial Trust which supports the many carers who provide unpaid assistance to family and friends who are unable to cope on their own. Carers come from all walks of life, all cultures, and can be of any age. It's often assumed the charitable work they do is 'a given', and perhaps what any of us would do if we were confronted with the same situation in our own lives. But looking after another person requires commitment, selflessness and considered thought for someone else, often to the detriment of the carer themselves. 

The trust donates directly to charities such as the Carers Trust, and hopes to go some way to increasing the awareness of carers and the invaluable contribution they make to the lives of others. 

A big part of Pete's life was his empathy for other people. Whether he was with family, friends or making a first introduction, Pete appreciated and connected with those around him. He would like the idea of making a contribution to this largely unrecognised group.

If you would like to support the 'Tour de Pedro' and more importantly The Peter Westropp Memorial Trust, please click the link below to donate.

Thank you.


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