CHARITY RIDE : POLICEMAN RIDES 1 900 KM ON A YAMAHA TO RAISE FUNDS FOR ABUSED CHILDREN
He may not be a knight in shining armour, but Lieutenant Colonel Paul van Eeden could be described as a ”knight on a shining motor bike”.
Van Eeden, 41 years of age, currently performs duties at Human Resource Development in Gauteng, but previously spent eight (8) years attached to the Krugersdorp Child Protection Unit in Gauteng. There, while spending all his time investigating cases of child abuse, he vowed that no matter where he was stationed, he would always be involved in helping abused children.
Paul, through his duties, became familiar with a charity called Matla a Bana, which provided the Krugersdorp Child Protection Unit with child friendly facilities for child victims and their parents.
Although his duties are now different, Paul is an avid motor bike enthusiast and he decided to combine his two passions – motor bikes and helping children - and ride through all nine provinces in less than 24 hours to raise funds for the Matla a Bana charity.
To prepare himself for the challenge, Lt Col Van Eeden spent every weekend riding his Yamaha Fazer distances of about 400 km at a time. In order to raise enough money to pay for the bike’s maintenance and fuel, Van Eeden and his wife Lizelle prepared meals and sold them either in the form of takeaways or sit-down meals at their home. They were enthusiastically supported by family, friends and neighbours.
On Saturday 20 October 2012 he set off from Gauteng at 03:00, drove through all nine South African Provinces and eventually stopped in Kimberley to sleep for five hours before heading back home. Through a motor bike club, there were people on standby throughout the country to assist him should he run into any type of mechanical or other trouble, but it was smooth running all the way.
Paul raised R25 000 for the charity and he says that he will let them decide on how the money will be spent because he has the utmost trust in them. Matla a Bana assisted in raising funds by creating a facebook page for the project and arranging for radio interviews.
Says Van Eeden: “I am very passionate about assisting children who have been victims of abuse as I have personally experienced their suffering whilst an investigating officer. I did this project in my private capacity and I am proud to say that I biked through all 9 provinces in 21.5 hours. I will definitely do it again, it is a privilege to do charity work for the children of our country”.
Congratulations to Lt Col Van Eeden, he is an inspiration to us all. Perhaps next time we can arrange for his SAPS colleagues to support him along the route!