The British Embassy will join the legendary rugby union star Lawrence Dellaglio in the final stage of the Cycle Slam 2022 solidarity event in Lisbon, on Wednesday 10th May.
The aim is to raise funds for the Dallaglio RugbyWorks foundation that supports disadvantaged young people with academic problems.
The final destination of this special cycle ride is the emblematic rooftop of Lisbon’s Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology designed by British architect Amanda Levete.
The UK’s Ambassador to Portugal, Chris Sainty, will join the more than 100 participants at the finish line. They will include Dallaglio himself, Andrew Ridgeley of Wham!, one of the most successful pop groups in the 1980s, and many other national and international figures from sport and various areas of society.
Dallaglio, the former captain of the English rugby team, launched his first Cycle Slam in 2010. The inaugural event saw Lawrence flanked by 200 others on a spectacular ride between all Six Nations stadiums, raising more than £1 million in charitable support.
Since that great event, he has founded Dallaglio RugbyWorks (DRW), a foundation that helps excluded young people to develop their potential. The Cycle Slam is held every two years.
Through rugby, DRW helps teenagers who are struggling to find their vocation outside of traditional education. The project has already helped and trained a young Portuguese man named José Pereira.
The idea is based on Lawrence's life experience and the difficulty he had in getting over his sister's death in 1989. Rugby played a decisive role in his life at that time.
In an Embassy statement, Chris Sainty, UK Ambassador to Portugal said: “It is with great pride that we join the 2022 Cycle Slam and the supportive work of Dallaglio RugbyWorks. Lawrence is one of the best rugby players ever and it is a privilege to join him in this commendable initiative.
“The history of the sport cannot be written without mentioning Lawrence and as a Brit, it fills me with pride to witness the work he has been developing over more than a decade in the reintegration of disadvantaged and academically challenged youths.”
Lawrence Dallaglio commented: “It will be an honour to cycle along Portuguese roads. Portugal is a very beautiful country and one of my favourite holiday destinations. Bearing in mind the historical ties that unite Portugal and the United Kingdom, it was a natural choice to end this Cycle Slam on a high note.”
He added: “It's great to see that rugby continues to grow in Portugal. I know that the Portuguese Rugby team still has a chance of qualifying for the World Cup and I hope it achieves this much-desired qualification. It is great to see that there are organisations in Portugal such as the Escolinha de Rugby da Galiza and the Escolinha de Rugby de São João da Talha, which are also using the sport to help children and teenagers in need.”
The British Embassy in Lisbon is responsible for developing and maintaining bilateral relations between the United Kingdom and Portugal. It says its stated mission is “to promote the objectives and policies of the British Government in Portugal, supporting British companies to do business in Portugal, encouraging foreign investment in the United Kingdom, and providing consular assistance to British residents and visitors to Portugal, where necessary.”
The two countries have been united for over six hundred years by the oldest diplomatic alliance in the world.
By Len Port