One Girl, Two Temples… a Challenge of a Lifetime

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Twelve-year-old schoolgirl Poppy Mulford has risen to a challenge which would have been well beyond the reach of most people twice her age, by cycling the 459 km between the temples of Ayutthaya in Thailand and Angkor Wat in Cambodia. In the process, she single-handedly raised over 220,000 baht (US$7,400) to help a young Thai girl have the operation she needs to restore her hearing.

Poppy, a pupil at The Regent’s School Pattaya, set herself the Temple2Temple Challenge after making friends with eight-year-old Yok, a pupil at the Sotpattana School for the Deaf. Every week for six weeks Poppy undertook a grueling training regime with her father, Nathaniel Mulford, and her dedication paid off as she completed the arduous route in 5 days. On one day she managed a staggering 108km.

Poppy and her support team including dad Nathaniel Mulford and Regents teachers Paul Madden, Samantha Howing-Nicholls and Richard Reardon.Poppy and her support team including dad Nathaniel Mulford and Regents teachers Paul Madden, Samantha Howing-Nicholls and Richard Reardon.

Poppy commented, “I am really proud of my achievement on a personal level, because that was a really long distance to ride, but I had all the motivation I needed, knowing that my actions could help my friend Yok to one day get her hearing.”

Poppy’s challenge was supported from the outset by her community of friends and staff at The Regent’s. Several members of her support team during the ride are members of staff at the school, including Paul Madden, the Head of PE. Paul commented, “Poppy is an extraordinary student, with great sporting ability and motivation. For a girl of her age to complete a sporting challenge like this is an inspiration to us all, whatever our age.”

Poppy sharing the moment with dad, Nathaniel Mulford.Poppy sharing the moment with dad, Nathaniel Mulford.

Temple2Temple has received widespread attention, and attracted sponsorship from many different quarters, including one sponsor who donated a support vehicle to track her from Ayutthaya to Angkor Wat.

HHN Foundation Thailand Director Radchada Chomjinda commented, “Congratulations to young Poppy Mulford on her achievement. It means so much to us to know how much she cares for our students, and little Yok in particular.”

Outside Angkor Wat after cycling 459km from Ayutthaya in Thailand.Outside Angkor Wat after cycling 459km from Ayutthaya in Thailand.

Principal Mike Walton commented, “Here at Regents we don’t just produce great results – we produce great people! Our school provides more than academic achievement and, through our Global Citizenship Programme, we motivate our students to believe that they can make a difference to others’ lives as well as their own. On behalf of the school – well done Poppy!”

Poppy and her inspiration for the ride - Yok.Poppy and her inspiration for the ride – Yok.

Poppy and her support team peddling to the finish line.Poppy and her support team peddling to the finish line.

Reflecting on her challenge of a lifetime.Reflecting on her challenge of a lifetime.

Peddle-Power Poppy with her dad Nathaniel Mulford ready to take on the challenge!Peddle-Power Poppy with her dad Nathaniel Mulford ready to take on the challenge!

Poppy and her support team peddling through the gates to Angkor Wat.Poppy and her support team peddling through the gates to Angkor Wat.