A PONTELAND couple’s decision to get on their bikes for a two-and-a-half-week ride covering hundreds of miles has paid off handsomely.
Andy and Claire Morgan travelled from John O’Groats in the far north east of Scotland to their home and they have received tremendous backing as more than £18,000 has been raised for a special fund allocated to prostate cancer research and awareness.
They both described the challenge as an amazing experience, but it was not all plain sailing as Mr Morgan’s bike was badly damaged early on and Mrs Morgan suffered a bad injury towards the end of the ride.
The route included Inverness, St Andrews and Edinburgh in Scotland as well as Berwick and parts of the Northumberland coast.
Just as they set off from John O’Groats, a big black industrial bin bag blew into their path and got caught in the gears of Mr Morgan’s bike and sheared off the derailleur, which caused bits to come off and one of the wheels to bend.
Fortunately, locals pointed him in the direction of the bike shop in a town down the road (Thurso) and a mechanic made him a new bike by combining the bits that still worked with a second-hand bike.
Mr Morgan said: “Once that setback was out of the way, the second day featured a lot of hills and it was hard work.
“But that turned out to be the toughest day and we started to really enjoy the ride from then on – in fact, we soon came to one of the highlights of the ride, going across the Cromarty Firth on a ferry to the Black Isle a little north of Inverness. The scenery was breathtaking.
“We met some terrific people along the way and once we came into Edinburgh, we were joined by a few friends.
“The group, including my brother Rob, kept getting bigger until we reached Ponteland and it was great that they came along to support our efforts.”
Mrs Morgan was unable to cycle right to the finish as she fell hard at the railway crossing near Embleton and suffered arm and shoulder fractures.
She was initially taken to Wansbeck General Hospital and as a surgeon, Joe Pooley, was part of the group, she was able to get an appointment at a hospital on Tyneside and get back to Ponteland in time to welcome home the riders.
“Up until that point the ride was fantastic and it was actually the rest day in Edinburgh that was toughest on my body because it was used to cycling,” she said. “Despite my injury, it was the best holiday we’ve ever had and we’re now looking to do a ride for pleasure next year.”
The money raised will go to the Urology and Oncology Fund, administered by Newcastle Hospital Trusts.