Gallery: Pedal power raises cash for EACH

Members from the EACH bike team are using the Santon Downham event to warm up for their London to P

Members from the EACH bike team are using the Santon Downham event to warm up for their London to Paris challenge - Credit: Archant

Generations old and young turned out in force at the weekend on bikes to help the 20th Ride for Life in aid of East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH) achieve one of its biggest ever turnouts since the event started.

Aided by some long overdue warm sunshine, more than 1,000 cyclists and walkers were expected to have participated in the annual fundraiser at Santon Downham on Sunday (May 19), which could have smashed the £50,000 target for the charity’s work supporting families and children with life-threatening conditions across East Anglia.

The cyclists included all age groups and different levels of experience who could choose to complete on road cycle routes of 19 or 35 miles, off road routes of 10 or 25 miles, while walkers had too scenic routes of three or nine miles which took them through Thetford Forest.

Mark Loades, one of the event organisers, said 720 people had registered to take part in advance, but many more had turned up on the day which led him to believe the 1,000 figure had been broken.

He said: “It is certainly the most successful in recent years. We have had some very good years, but this will be the most people.”

He added: “It has been going 20 years and over those 20 years we have been trying to make it bigger and better. I think it attracts people because they can cycle roads they would not normally cycle and walks that you would normally walk.”

The Beck family from Wymondham were following in each other’s tyre tracks by deciding to participate in the charity event.

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Nine-year-old Daniel completed the 19 mile route because his older brother Michael, 14, had taken part before and the sibling’s dad Stephen Beck, 46 and grandfather Bernard Beck, 72 also joined them for the ride, raising over £20 for the charity.

Daniel said: “I enjoyed it. I wanted to do it because my brother has done it before.”

Michael added: “I enjoy cycling. It gets me out of the house and I am used to the route. It is fairly flat.”

Carla Hill, 28, from Roudham, is a nurse at the EACH hospice in Quidenham and she was riding with her friends Jenny Vaughan, 34 and Jo Collins, 37.

She said: “I know first hand where the money raised will go and I know the benefits of the event which was why I decided to take part.

“The charity would stop working if it did not receive the fundraising and this event has been really well organised. It has been brilliant.”

Cyclist Robert Peachey, 28, from Ipswich, was visiting with his wife Amy, 28 and children Mia, eight and Rhys, four as well as other relatives and friends and participated in the 19 mile ride.

He added: “It is a good charity and I thoroughly enjoy bike riding so it was just nice to put the two together and just raise money for charity.”

He said he had previously done Sky Ride cycling events around Ipswich over shorter distances, but this was the first time he had completed the Ride for Life.

“I think I will be doing the EACH ride again because I have thorougly enjoyed it,” Mr Peachey added.

Peter Benbow, 69, from Trimley St Martin, proved that age is just a number by completing the 19 mile route along with his grandson Matthew Porter, 11.

“It went well and the weather’s been great. I have done it before, it is a fantastic charity isn’t it? The work they do is undescribable so to be able to help them in any small way makes it all worthwhile,” Mr Benbow added.

As well as the cycle ride on roads around Thetford and Breckland, there was also live music, pizza and fish and chip stalls, a tombola and children’s face painting.