On their bikes for Audrey

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A MORPETH man is doing a charity cross-country cycling trek more than 50 years after his parents got on their bikes for an epic journey.

Along with his son Ian, 31, and future son-in-law Kris Wood – the 32-year-old is marrying his daughter Alison in August – John Dryden will travel 140 miles from Whitehaven to Tynemouth.

During their four days on the road, starting tomorrow, they will go through parts of Cumbria, Northumberland, Durham and Tyneside. This is the first time all three have taken on such a challenge.

They thought it was a fitting tribute to John’s mother Audrey, who died in March of last year, because in 1950 she and his dad Ken cycled from Whitley Bay to London and back in 10 days a few months before they got married.

The 59-year-old, a former headteacher at Heaton Manor School in Newcastle, said: “It’s the biggest physical challenge we’ve done by a long way and although the freezing weather has hampered our training a bit, we’ve managed to prepare by going up Whorral Bank a few times, cycling to Cresswell and Druridge Bay and going along the road to Scots Gap and Wallington.

“We’re excited about doing the Coast-2-Coast and it will be good to get a taste of what my parents did.

“My dad was a very keen cyclist and he did many long-distance rides with his friends. He got my mum involved after they fell in love and she also developed a passion for bike riding.

“They had fond memories of their journey, about 600 miles there and back, and hopefully we’ll have some too.”

The trio are raising money for St Oswald’s Hospice. Mr Dryden said the staff took excellent care of his mother when she had cancer and her being in the hospice meant the family could say goodbye to her in a dignified way.

To make a donation, visit www.justgiving.com/coast 2coastAD