A former international soccer player left the Barossa Wednesday morning for a physical challenge which aims to raise vital funds for children supported by the Starlight Foundation.
Thomas Sorensen, who now calls Melbourne his home after his association with Melbourne City League, has swapped the ball for a road bike in appreciation of his own life.
“I got involved in charity work for sick kids in my native country of Denmark because every child should have a reason to smile, dream and believe in their future,” the father of two said.
The retired soccer star explained it was an earlier holiday to the wine region which led him to choose the Barossa to begin the first leg of the tour which covers 3500km.
Since his arrival on Saturday, he further enjoyed tastes of the Barossa with tours to Hentley Farm and Two Hands and sights, including a 40km ride which took him up Mengler’s Hill.
Winning two World Cups and playing 364 games in the English Premier League, the family man will be supported by his father and joined by his brother and fellow cyclist Claus, plus riders from England.
Sorensen shared how each gave their “thumbs up to the Barossa” following their stay which included accommodation at the Novotel.
For the team, the ‘Ride for Kids’ is very much focused on encouraging the communities, the cyclists visit, to jump online and donate funds.
Sorensen has set a fundraising target of $150,000 and to date about $26,000 has been raised. In addition, an auction will run with signed memorabilia on offer.
His arrival to SA also saw him meet with youngsters at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital who live with life threatening illnesses and are supported by the Starlight Foundation.
“I have been very privileged throughout my life. I got the chance to live out my childhood dream with the support of so many people. Sadly that is not the reality for a lot children,” he said.
Wednesday’s ride includes tackling several hills as the cyclists meander their way to Hahndorf, before increasing distances each day to take on Meningie, Kingston and Mount Gambier.
In Mount Gambier he will dismount his bike to take up soccer as part of an organised clinic run with children.
The riders will then regroup and cross the border to visit places along the Great Ocean Road.
Sorensen said more riders will join him and the crew along the way, including one leg which involves Tasmania.