In Honour of the Arctic Convoys & in support of Children's Hospitals

The Cultural Cycle Live Tracking

To update his location, Gavin sends GPS pings every 10 minutes.

THE CULTURAL CYCLE STORY LINE

Victory Day London is proud to announce the START of a European bicycle tour from London to St. Petersburg entitled "The Cultural Cycle", which commenced on the morning of Thursday 13 August 2015 in the British capital.

The Cultural Cycle was set to attract public attention to the rehabilitation of seriously ill children through the arts and sport, and is dedicated to the 70th anniversary of Victory in the Second World War and the Arctic Convoys in particular. In Britain, The Cultural Cycle raises money for St. Evelina Children’s Hospital, MediCinema Charity and Breathe Arts Health Research.

gavinThe cycling challenge is being accomplished by 35-year old Scot Gavin Tiffin whose grandfather Pearson Rodney Tiffin was a Warrant Engineer in the Merchant Navy and took part in the Arctic Convoys PQ17, PQ18, QP14, JW52, RA52, JW53 and RA53. Gavin also fulfils the role of an international ambassador for the Victory Day London project dedicated to the heroism of British and Russian sailors, heroes of the legendary convoys.

The task that Gavin set for himself is not an easy one. For the first time on the continent, one person will cover the distance of over three thousand kilometres (2000 miles) on bicycle in three weeks. On his route, Gavin will cross the borders of 10 countries with stops in 24 settlements, including such major European cities as Berlin, Warsaw, Vilnius, Tartu, Narva and St. Petersburg.

memorialSimultaneously, on 29 August, the Head of Victory Day London Eugene Kasevin will lead a group of British veterans to Arkhangelsk for the unveiling of a memorial to the Arctic Convoys that will take place on 31 August - the day of the 1st Arctic Convoy "Dervish" arriving in Arkhangelsk in 1941. The memorial was created by Russian artist Sergei Syukhin.

The unveiling ceremony will be attended by the British Ambassador to Moscow HE Sir Tim Barrow and the Consul General to St. Petersburg  Keith Allan. The group will then travel to St. Petersburg to welcome Gavin on Victory Square on Thursday 3 September together with the veterans of St. Petersburg, local supporters and the press.

The next day, on Friday September 4, Gavin and the British veterans group will meet with little patients and doctors of the city’s Children's Hospital No.1, where children and hospital staff will enjoy a new play “Samokat” from the Kukly (Dolls) Children's Theatre troupe. This meeting will also mark the beginning of cooperation between one of the largest children's hospital in London – St. Evelina Hospital and the Children's Hospital No. 1 of St. Petersburg. On Saturday, September the 5th, a charity auction will be held aimed to raise money for the Children’s Hospital No.1 and the children's theatre “Kukly”.

In Gavin’s words:

My name is Gavin Tiffin. I work as a hospitality manager for the Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust. The Trust looks after three of the largest and oldest hospitals in London: St Guy's Hospital, St. Thomas' and the Evelina Children's Hospital.

The main goal of my project is to show to everyone that music, dance, poetry, visual arts, culture, sport and creativity do positively affect the recovery of children, helping their families and hospital staff to feel comfortable within the walls of hospitals.

I chose St. Petersburg as my final destination due to it being the centre of cultural heritage not only for Russia, but the whole of Europe.

The other reason why I chose the hero-city of St. Petersburg is for it being the cradle of the Russian Navy. This is the place where Peter the Great turned Russia into a Naval Empire.

This year when the whole world is celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Great Victory, I would like to pay tribute to the fallen defenders, and to honour the World War II veterans who served in the Arctic Convoys that brought vital supplies to the besieged Leningrad and occupied Russia. This page of history is very close to my heart since my grandfather served in the Arctic Convoys.

In addition, I also have long family relations with St. Petersburg. My relatives in 1860s participated in the creation and installation of the water supply system for the city. As you can see, I rightly consider Russia as my second home for many reasons. But the boldest of them is that my wife Anna is Russian.

CYCLE CHALLENGE DESTINATIONS

London, Dover (UK); Calais, Bruges (France); Antwerp (Belgium); Arnhem (Netherlands); Münster, Hildesheim, Burg Bei Magdeburg, Berlin (Germany); Kostrzyn, Poznan, Kutno, Warsaw, Grajewo (Poland); Alytus, Molėtai, Vilnius (Lithuania); Jekabpils (Latvia); Valga, Tartu, Narva (Estonia); Peterhof, St. Petersburg (Russia).

GAVIN TIFFIN BIOGRAPHY

  • Born 01/06/1980 in Edinburgh, Scotland.
  • Gavin Rodney Tiffin – middle name from Grandfather.
  • Have one older Bother – Robert, one younger Sister – Hannah.
  • Father – Ralph, Mother – Eileen.
  • Grew up in Crieff - Home of Famous Grouse Whisky.
  • Went to University at Robert Gordon's Aberdeen to study business studies.
  • Left after 1 year, as it did not interest me, I felt I was not learning.
  • Started collecting glasses at Hilton Aberdeen hotel in bars, worked my way up to assistant bar manager.
  • Moved to Hilton Edinburgh as Bars Manager/Duty Manager.
  • Then onto Glasshouse Hotel Edinburgh to open hotel 5* Boutique.
  • Following this I was at Edinburgh University as Conference and Banqueting Manager, during which time I ran events for visits by the Queen and other Royalty, met the Dali Lama, and hosted the G20.
  • I then ran a racecourse in Scotland before heading to London to run Hospitality at Guy’s and St Thomas’.
  • Married to my beloved Russian wife Anna Tiffin who is accompanying me along with my Uncle Donald.

Facts of my life:

  • Won Acorn award in 2009, industry award for top up and coming people under 30.
  • Owned and ran my own restaurant in Edinburgh, The Sizzling Scot.
  • Played rugby in early years as well as the Euphonium in a Brass Band.
  • Took up running in 2001, when a good friend passed away as a fundraising activity, been doing events ever since.
  • Have wine qualification, master of wine.

QUOTES FROM PEOPLE

Everyone at Evelina London Children’s Hospital is so grateful to Gavin for continuing to support us. The bike ride itself is going to be a fantastic way to raise awareness of Evelina and all the wonderful work that is done there. Every donation makes a difference to the services we can offer to our patients and their families.

Mehreen Syed, Sports Events Manager
Fundraising & Supporter Development
Evelina London Children’s Hospital
http://www.evelinalondon.nhs.uk/

***

Breathe is both delighted and honoured to have been chosen as one of the organisations supported by the Cultural Cycle. This is a fantastic opportunity to promote the work of Breathe Arts Health Research both nationally and internationally as Gavin spreads the message of the value of creativity in healthcare throughout Europe.  We pride ourselves on not only designing, delivering and researching the clinical and economic value of integrating the arts in to healthcare, but also as being a pioneering organisation that inspires and leads the way for others. Through the promotion of the Cultural Cycle, we hope we can inspire even more individuals and organisations to explore the value of combining arts, health and science. Gavin, himself, is also a huge inspiration to our team and all those that we work with, and he mirrors my own values, on which I built Breathe, which is that anything is possible with hard work, determination and resilience.

Yvonne Farquharson, Managing Director
Breathe Arts Health Research
http://www.breatheahr.org/

***

We are so delighted that Gavin's epic cycle is supporting MediCinema and the other charities at Guy's and St Thomas's. The money raised will enable us to help hundreds of very unwell patients and their families - children and adults, in their beds, wheelchairs, on drips and oxygen - feel better with film this year. You only have to witness the looks on our patients' faces as they walk through the doors of a MediCinema to see the latest movie to understand the true meaning and value of escapism and normality for people who are unwell in hospital. For just two short hours we transport them away from the hospital and their illness into the magic of the cinema and the film - and the results are extraordinary. We are so grateful to Gavin and all our other partners and donors without whom this just wouldn't be possible.

Kat Mason, CEO
MediCinema
http://www.medicinema.org.uk/

***

I am very proud of Gavin for his courageous initiative and determination to complete his Cultural Cycle challenge, which will be a great achievement for anyone to accomplish. Gavin already became a good friend and a great supporter of the Arctic Convoys’ veterans, and his hosting the visit of Russian veterans to London during their UK visit in December last year is a bold example of his dedication. I am also very honoured to have Gavin as one of our Global Ambassadors for the Victory Day London project. His vision to dedicate his cycling voyage to the Arctic Convoys in the year of 70th Anniversary of Victory in WW2 is outstanding. I also hope that Gavin will be able to initiate a live link between London’s Evelina Children’s Hospital and the Children’s Hospital No.1 of St. Petersburg, which we will visit together on September the 4th. I will be leading a group of British veterans to the unveiling ceremony of the Arctic Convoys’ memorial in Arkhangelsk on the 31st of August – the day of 74th Anniversary of the First ‘Dervish’ Convoy, following which we will be welcoming Gavin on his finish line in St. Petersburg on September the 3rd.

Eugene Kasevin, Head and Founder
Victory Day London

Victory Day London in association with the British Psychological Society, Combat Stress and AF&V Launchpad from the UK side, and with the Russian support from the Committee for External Relations of St. Petersburg, veterans' charity Afghanvet and GlavTourOperator have successfully held a conference on the theme of rehabilitation for veterans of recent conflicts, which took place on Friday 29 May 2015, at the PetroCongress Center in St. Petersburg, Russia.

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The previous day Thursday 28 May, a Declaration of Intention to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding between British and Russian Psychological Societies was signed by their Presidents: Professor Jamie Hacker Hughes and Professor Yuri Zinchenko. The signing ceremony took place in the eighteenth century Peter’s Hall of the St. Petersburg State University at exactly 17:00 in the presence of the British Consul General Keith Allan and a group of the University’s professors.

The ceremony was followed by a lecture on the British History of Military Psychology delivered by Professor Hacker Hughes to the University’s professorial and teaching staff.

Continue reading “Veterans of Recent Conflicts – Conference – 28-29 May 2015” »

10 British veterans (5 from from England and 5 from Scotland) traveled to Saint-Petersburg on May the 7th to celebrate the 70th Anniversary of Victory in the Second World War together with their Russian brothers-in-arms veterans of the Arctic Convoys. The trip organiser Eugene Kasevin remarked on his "joy at the thought that seven of the British veterans who travelled have not seen Russia since the Arctic Convoys took place over 70 years ago."

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Continue reading “70th Anniversary of Victory in Saint-Petersburg – 7-11 May 2015” »