July 24 2014 Latest news:
Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Two Bury St Edmunds charities will benefit from £150,000 raised by participants of an epic five-day cycling challenge.
The cash collected as a result of last month’s 340-mile Memorial Cycle Ride will be split between St Nicholas Hospice Care and the Haberden Trust at Bury Rugby Club.
The event marked the 40th anniversary of one of the worst air crashes of all time, in which 18 members of the rugby club died.
Last month 94 riders and a 25-strong team of volunteers travelled to the crash site at Ermenonville, in France, and cycled back to the UK, arriving to a rapturous reception at the rugby club on May 11.
The Haberden Trust plans to use its share of the £157,857 raised for floodlighting on the club’s youth pitches.
Austin Cornish, who lost his father Laurie in the disaster, was one of the organisers of the event.
He said: “It has gone way beyond anybody’s expectations. When we came up with the idea in May last year we thought it might raise £40,000, so we are delighted it raised more than £157,000.
“It was a great experience for everyone involved - the cyclists and volunteers. It wasn’t just a cycle ride and for a lot of people it was a life changing event. It ended up being a 340-mile ride and we had a lot of bad weather, so it took a lot of people out of their comfort zone.
“It was inspiring – nobody involved thought it would ever raise so much or what an experience it would be. It turned into so much more than we ever hoped.”
Lizzie Cross, hospice corporate fundraiser, thanked everyone involved in the cycle ride and those who supported it.
She added: “To have raised nearly £79,000 is absolutely phenomenal and will make a significant difference to the hospice’s work supporting patients and families.
“The Memorial Cycle Ride was a wonderful event to be involved with and could never have raised so much without everyone’s commitment and enthusiasm.”