Over the summer months, we decided to catch up with some of the people in our local community. We work and live side by side and in the rush of London life, sometimes forget to stop and have a chat. So I decided to stop by and have a coffee with Marcus Roberts from Daylesford, Westbourne grove.

Some of you may already know this bubbly and joyful character who embarked on a charity bike ride across Croatia to raise over £400,000 for The Felix Project. By himself, Marcus raised a fantastic £38,000. But the best bit is how his infectious passion and personality led to some big names joining him on his mission. If you haven’t yet heard about The Felix Project, it is an amazing charity which works hard to stop food poverty. They campaign and work alongside restaurants and supermarkets to ensure that food does not go to waste but goes to those who need it.

Marcus tells me a bit about his own journey to being passionate about food for wellbeing and we talk about health, nutrition and healthy living. The Felix Project distributes food through a wonderful team of dedicated volunteers to people who are homeless, shelters, food banks and individuals or families in need.

Marcus tells me that he didn’t ride a bike before this challenge presented itself and now with increased fitness, rides to work most days. He is also amazed and humbled by how much of a snowball effect his enthusiasm has had on unsuspecting locals, particularly one who had just poppe​​​​​​​d into Daylesford for their morning coffee and somehow ended up on a plane to Croatia! By talking to customers and colleagues, Marcus managed to persuade most if not all of the regular customers to sponsor him and even talked Julien Macdonald into participate in the charity rac​​​​​​​​​​​​​​e!
This is real community spirit and we love that Notting Hill has this feel!
On the 26th of June, over 50 riders set off for Croatia to complete this charity bike race, including some of the UK’s well-known names who support and stand by The Felix Project and it’s amazing work.

Her​​​​​​​e’s what happened, in Marcus’s words, after completing the race. Well done Marcus, thank you for sharing your journey and passion. Fantastic work!
“On the 26th of June Ben Elliot co-founder of Quintessentially, legendary British Fashion Designer Julien Macdonald, and I flew off to Croatia on the 11th Annual Quintessentially Foundation Charity Bike Ride which was this year sponsored the Marc Group and in partnership with Velusso in aid of The Felix Project with a team of 50 other cyclists.

Landing in Zagreb Croatia during one of the hottest heatwaves ever recorded in Europe with temperatures in France reaching up to 45 degrees, the team of determined men and women who were prepared to give their all to support The Felix Project by cycling for 300 miles from Zagreb to Split to try to raise as much for them as possible.

Starting out on the first stretch of open road on day one, it was 5:30 in the morning and the team had decided to start us all off early because of the extreme heat so that we were out of the midday sun for as long as possible. Straddling my bike, it felt satisfying as I clicked my SPD shoes into the pedals and set off with the team about to start the adventure of a lifetime.

Riding alongside Ben Elliot, who founded Quintessentially Foundation and people like Jasper Boyton, George Frost son of legendary broadcaster Sir David Frost and Simon Jackson and Lord Jeffery Archers son James Archer, who were all extremely fit and regular professional cyclists, I felt on top of the world and so proud of how far I had come in my fitness journey. After a few hours, it all got too much and I slowed down to settle in with a group of other cyclists further in the back of the pack. Keeping up with super fit Ben, just wasn’t sustainable!

As the second day approached we were all feeling a bit sore and it was starting to sink in just how difficult this trip was going to be. Climbing up a massive hill in 37 degree heat, I kept pushing myself through the sweat and exhaustion until I couldn’t anymore more and was physically sick and had to get in the back of the van for half an hour. After lunch I was feeling better and was out on the road again, eager to be getting those miles under my belt.

One of my personal highlights was when exhausted and tired after cycling for miles in such hot weather, Julien Macdonald came whizzing by on his bike, shouting, “get up Marcus, we can do this, jump back on ya bike and follow me”! With loud 80’s discos music blasting from some speakers on his bike. So I did. And we cycled together for miles on end with the tunes blasting and our spirits feeling lifted by the music, giving us the energy we needed to keep going and carry on.

On the last day as we were all cycling down a massive hill on the final decent into the port of Split, I was going over 60 miles an hour, speeding alongside cars and trucks, with their horns blaring, constantly afraid one would accidentally swerve and knock me off the sheer cliff face, but at the same time excited and never feeling as alive as I had in my whole entire life.

Arriving at the finish on beach in Split, after cycling for 300 miles across Croatia in the searing heat during one of the hottest recorded heatwaves in Europe, I collapsed as I got of my bike and walked up to the finish line to collect my medal. Feeling exhausted, tired, sore and with extreme swelling and pain, I was absolutely shattered, but also very proud that I had managed to do it and at the same time somehow managed to personally raise over £36,000 for The Felix Project on my Virgin Money Giving Page at the same time.

Special thanks to Leonora, George, Alice and Lord and Lady Bamford for their encouragement and consistent support. George Osborne, Nick Jones, Liv Tyler, Poppy Delevingne, Suki Waterhouse, Geordie Grieg, Steven Knight, Nick Compton, Miel Debotton, Tom Parker Bowles, Janet Debotton, Lord Greg Barker, Marlon Abela, Giles Coren, and so many of the regular customers at the Daylesford Organic Farm Shop on Westbourne Grove, Notting Hill where I regularly work, for their extremely kind donations and sponsorship.

The event was a great success and raised over £410,000. The funds raised will support the work of The Felix Project who are fighting food poverty and food waste across London. Every week The Felix Project rescues 30 tonnes of high-quality food, which is distributed to over 250 charities and schools across London.

Ben Elliot himself via his Quintessentially Foundation has helped raise over £2 million for The Felix Project over the last 2 years with high profile fundraising events such as the bike ride and the yearly much loved Christmas Carol Concert the Fayre of St James which is held in November in St James’s church Piccadilly.
Some people talk the talk, but Ben really walks the walk too, there’s no better person that Michael Gove could of chosen to be the nation’s Food Surplus and Waste Champion and it’s ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​fantastic to see him in action as he steps up to the plate in the fight against food waste”.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​
““This year’s Quintessentially Foundation Annual Charity Bike Ride was in support of Britain’s most dynamic new charity The Felix Project, that is at the forefront of the fight against food waste. A cause very close to my heart as the governments Food Surplus and Waste Champion. The money raised from the bike ride will be enough to fully fund their Central London operations for the next 2 years. Myself and the whole team at Quintessentially Foundation couldn’t be more proud.” Ben Elliot.


“I’ve always been a b​​​​​​​ig fan of Daylesford and the delicious range of organic food they sell which they grow themselves on their farm in Gloucestershire. I particularly like their organic coffee which ​​​​​​​I regularly come in to get on most mornings from the store on Westbourne Grove which is handily located just round the corner from my studio on Ledbury Road and am served by the ever cheerful and welcoming Marcus who persuaded me to take part in the recent Quintessentially Foundation Charity Bike Ride to support The Felix Project.” Julien Macdonald

Written by Ma​​​​​​​rcus Roberts, Relationship Manager for the Felix Project.
You can find Marcus at Daylesford on Westbourne Grove 3 days a week, the rest of his time is spent supporting The Felix Project. 
You can find out more about The Felix Project and how you can help here