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200 women take part in the Women on Wheels event in Bury St Edmunds

PUBLISHED: 10:39 10 July 2018 | UPDATED: 10:39 10 July 2018

Early starters: The annual Women on Wheels charity cycle event in aid of St Nicholas Hospice Care sets off from Nowton Park on Sunday.

PICTURE: Andy Abbott

Early starters: The annual Women on Wheels charity cycle event in aid of St Nicholas Hospice Care sets off from Nowton Park on Sunday. PICTURE: Andy Abbott

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Women got on their bikes at the weekend for a charity cycle ride in Bury St Edmunds.

Early starters: The annual Women on Wheels charity cycle event in aid of St Nicholas Hospice Care sets off from Nowton Park on Sunday.

PICTURE: Andy AbbottEarly starters: The annual Women on Wheels charity cycle event in aid of St Nicholas Hospice Care sets off from Nowton Park on Sunday. PICTURE: Andy Abbott

Around 200 took part in the Women on Wheels event which set off from Nowton Park, on Sunday.

Celebrating it’s fifth year in Bury, the ride, known as the WoW Ride for short, is an initiative to encourage women and girls to get on their bikes, experience the benefits of cycling and see what fun it can be.

It’s aimed at women cyclists only, new or experienced, young and old, to challenge themselves around some beautiful local routes and all monies raised going to St Nicholas Hospice Care.

Over the last four years the WoW rides in Bury St Edmunds have raised £24,616 for the hospice.

Early starters: The annual Women on Wheels charity cycle event in aid of St Nicholas Hospice Care sets off from Nowton Park on Sunday.

PICTURE: Andy AbbottEarly starters: The annual Women on Wheels charity cycle event in aid of St Nicholas Hospice Care sets off from Nowton Park on Sunday. PICTURE: Andy Abbott

The event is organised by Abbeycroft Leisure in partnership with Suffolk County Council and was sponsored again this year by specialist bike retailer Revel Outdoors and local brewer, distiller and retailer Adnams.

The event was started in Nowton Park, by the Mayor of St Edmundsbury Margaret Marks and participants chose from either the 10, 25, 50 or 75 mile route.

She said: “I have had the great pleasure and privilege to be part of Abbeycroft Leisure in several ways, as a member, as St John Ambulance in a support role, as a participant, as a spectator and now as mayor. It never fails to amaze me how much Abbeycroft do within our community outside the boundaries of a traditional leisure centre and how much fun and pleasure you bring whilst encouraging health and fitness across the ages.” Jo Rayner, St Edmundsbury Borough Council cabinet member for Leisure and Culture said: “The welcoming atmosphere on this ride is superb and its popularity attracts new riders and previous participants alike. Our council’s priority is to provide support for local people to live healthier, more active lives and I congratulate everyone involved in this event doing just that.”

And Alison Blackwell, Abbeycroft Leisure’s development director, added: “This event just gets better and better and the turnout was fantastic again, despite the very hot weather. It was lovely to see so many ladies and young girls out enjoying the fresh air and the BBQ afterwards to celebrate our fifth anniversary proved very popular”

Early starters: The annual Women on Wheels charity cycle event in aid of St Nicholas Hospice Care sets off from Nowton Park on Sunday.

PICTURE: Andy AbbottEarly starters: The annual Women on Wheels charity cycle event in aid of St Nicholas Hospice Care sets off from Nowton Park on Sunday. PICTURE: Andy Abbott

George Chilvers, St Nicholas Hospice Care’s community fundraising manager, said: “I am so pleased that the fifth Women on Wheels event has proved such a success. Over the last four years, the rides have raised an amazing £24,616 for the hospice, and we are hoping this year’s event will take us to £30,000.

“Events like Women on Wheels are so important to us. Not only do they help raise vital funds for our charity, they also help raise awareness of the hospice and its services and support across the community.

“I am so grateful to each and every rider who gave up their time and energy on a very hot Sunday for us, and of course all of those who gave their time so generously to support the event.”

Owner of Revel Outdoors, Sarah Wightman said: “This was another excellent WoW event and we again loved being a part of it. Year on year, it is great to see new women taking part and to see returning cyclists challenging themselves to ride that bit further. We are looking forward to next year already and hope to be able to spread to word to get even more women out enjoying cycling.”

Early starters: The annual Women on Wheels charity cycle event in aid of St Nicholas Hospice Care sets off from Nowton Park on Sunday.

PICTURE: Andy AbbottEarly starters: The annual Women on Wheels charity cycle event in aid of St Nicholas Hospice Care sets off from Nowton Park on Sunday. PICTURE: Andy Abbott

James Reeder, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for Health, said: “I’d like to congratulate everybody who took part in the event. Cycling is such a great way of being active and enjoying the fresh air. Events like this, and the other Women of Wheels events across the county, do so much to give participants a reason and confidence to get on their bikes, whether for recreation or travel. They are really important in our long-term ambitions of becoming the most active county in England.”

There are still three more WoW events planned in Suffolk later this year at Sudbury, Debenham and Southwold.

To find out more visit www.wowsuffolk.org.uk

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