Dozens up for big challenge

Some of the people who participated in the cycling challenge for MS Research and Relief Fund, including the young boy.
Some of the people who participated in the cycling challenge for MS Research and Relief Fund, including the young boy.

A LARGE group of people used pedal power to help raise money for a Morpeth-based charity at the weekend.

Staff at the MS Research and Relief Fund (MSRRF) were delighted with the large turnout for its 24-hour cycling challenge, which ran from 9am on Saturday to 9am on Sunday.

A total of 83 people participated. Some rode the outdoor routes and others, including a few people with multiple sclerosis, pedalled on indoor trainers (bikes on rollers) or MOTOmed bikes (computer assisted).

The idea came from one of the users at the centre in Stobhill, Cat Marshall. She and twin sister Lesley completed the 24 hours in a relay – they pedalled the equivalent of 1,680 minutes.

Charity Sustrans donated some of the bikes and three Territorial Army officers, four firefighters and a police officer came along to do a stint. A mix of ages took part, including a three-year-old on his own bike.

The purpose of the event was to raise awareness of the fund and bring in money for its hydrotherapy pool project. More than £830 has been collected so far, with further monies to come.

MSRRF Network and Marketing Manager, Sue Dowson, said: “It was amazing that so many people took part in the challenge to support our fund-raising and their efforts were inspiring.

“It was a long 24 hours and at one point we were sure the clocks were ticking backwards, but the atmosphere was wonderful throughout. There was such a lovely feeling during the whole day of warmth, kindness and togetherness.

“The Marshall twins were incredible, we were so impressed with their drive to keep going. Some of the participants did amazing stints, especially the men who cycled from 9pm to 6am and 10pm to 4am respectively.

“It was a useful event for us because some of the people who popped in to find out what was going on when they saw our signs didn’t know that we were here in Stobhill.”

The organisers included Tony Quinn and Bruce Dowson, who led the outside riders throughout the daylight hours and fixed punctures and recovered riders, and the challenge was supported by one of Sustrans’ education officers, Richard Rothwell.

Mrs Dowson said: “I would also like to thank a number of other people who helped out. Steve Dack marshalled all day, despite the cold and wet, at the Blue Bridge and promoted the event.

“Jean Brunning is a fantastic cook who spent the whole day, supported by her husband Stephen, cooking wonderful scones, cakes, pies and other items to keep the riders going.

“Hilary Quinn worked tirelessly making sausage and bacon sandwiches and cups of tea and coffee to keep everyone going, and jumped on one of the bikes when there was one free.

“And I’m also grateful to Amy Dunn, who kept me motivated during the build up to this event and attended on the day despite suffering from a major back injury.”