Mammoth charity ride for ‘heroes’
Suffolk businessmen gearing up for marathon charity ride.
THREE well-known Suffolk businessmen are packing away their pinstripes and donning lycra suits for an ambitious 1,800 mile European charity cycle ride.
The trio, who work in Sudbury, are gearing up for their mammoth ‘Cycle for Heroes’ ride to recognise the bravery of soldiers and cancer nurses who they have come across.
Gary Harvey, 52, owner of Mel Aviation and former AFC Sudbury manager, Mel sales manager Tony Treacy 46, and Darren Pratt, 42, co-owner of Eastern’s Station Lounge nightclub, make up the team.
They will be embarking on a gruelling schedule of 90 miles a day for 20 days from April 25 which will take them from Serbia through Croatia, Slovenia, Austria, Germany, Belgium and Holland, before heading back to Sudbury via Harwich. As well as contending with the elements, the businessmen will also have to compete with one of the world’s most challenging mountain ranges, The Alps, in their quest to complete their challenge.
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The ride has been put on to raise money for Help For Heroes and Macmillan Cancer Support, with a target of at least �50,000 set.
Mr Pratt was so moved by the stories of a young pair of Paras in his restaurant in Chelmsford he got together with his friends to do something in return for their bravery. He also decided to do the ride in recognition of the nurses who have made his family’s experience of his mother being diagnosed with lung cancer more bearable.
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“It really affected me,” he said of the meeting the two Paras. “I treated them to dinner and drinks and actually started welling up - they were 20 year old lads and so brave. I mentioned them the next day to Gary and he said ‘lets do something’.”
The businessmen have been hard in training for the last seven months, even out cycling through the snow, in preparation.
Mr Treacy, an ex-Royal Marine of 10 years, said they know it is going to hurt but want to do something to give back to people they deem to be “true heroes”.
The group will be followed by a support team led by John Robbie, owners of Rodbridge Car Sales in Long Melford, who has provided a caravan for them to sleep in.
The trio are inviting people to join them on the 35 mile ride from Sudbury to the ferry in Harwich on April 25. So far 50 people are expected to ride with them, obtaining their own sponsorship. The cycle ride is one of a number of events they are putting on, which also includes a charity ball at Sudbury Town Hall on May 22, with tickets costing �25.
For more information about their events, or join the first stage of their ride, phone Mr Treacy on 07540 418117. To sponsor them visit www.justgiving.com/cycleforheroes2010 or www.justgiving.com/2010cycleforheroes.