[A] group of cyclists from Cumbria have raised more than £6,000 for Eden Valley Hospice by riding from Land’s End to John O’Groats via their own scenic route over land and sea.
The long-distance fund-raisers covered 1,075 miles and spent 12 hours a day in the saddle during their epic 12-day LEJOG ride, detouring to take in the Scottish islands, plus Carlisle for a night at home en route.
The ride was in memory of cancer victim Michael Aird, from Silloth, who was cared for at the hospice in Carlisle before he died aged 44. His friend Ian Ramsey completed the ride with brothers Richard and Brian Story, all from Silloth, and Malcolm Brown, from Wigton.
The four riders were supported by Robert Keenan, a volunteer at the hospice, who drove a back-up vehicle supplied by Reays. The Wigton-based bus and coach company also provided them with free fuel for the eight-seater Vauxhall mini coach as Eden Valley Hospice is its charity of the year for 2016.
Richard, 58, who organised the ride, said: “It was really good. We all enjoyed it. It was difficult at times but there was some really nice scenery, although you can’t get much better than Cumbria. One of my favourite sections was cycling from Oban to Fort William. That was really beautiful.
“We wanted to see as much as possible, which is why we took a longer, prettier route. While we were in England, we only spent about 30 minutes on main roads. We planned it to go through all the little back lanes. I didn’t have a puncture all the way but we had seven in total.”
Since retiring after 40 years’ service at Innovia in Wigton in October 2014, Richard had pledged to complete a major fund-raising challenge for the hospice where he is also a volunteer. He added:”I was going to do it last year but I wasn’t too good after two operations so I delayed it to this year.
“We picked our own route and it was very good of Reays to give us not only a vehicle but also the fuel. We wanted to call in there afterwards and thank Chris Reay personally for his support. It was a superb gesture as it enabled us to give more money to the hospice.”
After setting off from Land’s End, the cyclists rode via Bridgwater, Hereford, Whitchurch, Lancaster and Carlisle. They then crossed the border and rode on to Ardrossan before catching a ferry to Arran and then on to Kintyre, Loch Ness, Lairg and Thurso.
Chris Reay said: “Congratulations to Richard and the team on completing the ride and raising so much money for a charity that is very close the heart of all of us here at Reays.”