Christian Aid Legends: Wheels Of Thunder

Colin Brannen is a retired RE teacher. He is also a Christian Aid organiser, a super cyclist and one of the most motivated and talented fundraisers on the planet. The guy has it all.

Hes been a campaigner and fundraiser for Christian Aid since the 60s. For those of you who struggle with mental arithmetic that means he’s been supporting us for OVER 50 YEARS. In that time he has raised huge amounts of money and awareness for our appeals and campaigns.

Despite this, throughout our conversation, he seemed embarrassed that I was even talking to him. Colin, it turns out, is not in it for personal glory. He doesn’t need to be slapped on the back and told he is a good person. He is all about the cause.

He took early retirement at age 50 and although he now describes himself as a gentleman of leisurehis continuing campaign and fundraising schedule would leave the average nine to five worker exhausted.

Making a difference has become part of his everyday.

Colin doesn’t own a car and so cycles everywhere. Quite naturally his bike, colourfully festooned with flags, has become a cornerstone of his campaigning and fundraising efforts. He has cycled to the G8 in Birmingham and Cologne. He has cycled to Brighton and Edinburgh. A couple of years ago (and at the age of 76) he even cycled to London from Newcastle for the big IF campaign event in Westminster. Colin tells me this with the sort of blasé directness that signals he doesn’t think it’s a particularly big deal.

But it IS a big deal. Sometimes I can’t be bothered to cycle to the Co-op and that’s 5 minutes away. (Also I’m in my early 20s).

So then why does he do it? Why does he feel the need to pedal furiously towards a better world when most of his contemporaries are content to do the crossword with their feet up? Colin seems a little taken aback, as if the answer is obvious.

‘Well I believe in what Christian Aid does, I want to help equal up the world’s resources.

To him helping the poorest in our world comes as second nature. You see, the thing is Colin doesn’t believe he has much to offer when it comes to inspiring a younger generation of supporters.

But we all know that’s rubbish, don’t we? His dedication, his drive, his self-effacing nature should be a challenge to us all. I challenge myself and you to create such a long-lasting legacy.

To one day be as humble and radical as Colin.