AN epic long-distance bike ride spanning four countries has raised close to £35,000 for charity.
Eight big-hearted north Northumberland cyclists put their pedal power to the test last month by trekking more than 1,000 miles from Beal, near Holy Island, to Toulon in France.
Clocking up to 120 miles a day, the guys – who go by the name of 8 Blokes on Spokes – cycled for cash to raise funds for Stoma Nurse Specialists, caring for children with bowel and bladder disorders, and Wooden Spoon, a rugby charity which supports mentally, physically or socially disadvantaged children.
And the group – Peter Brewis, Hugh Burn, Simon Manners, Sebastian Moss, Ian Robertson, Anthony Stoker, Peter Sutherland and Robbie Sutherland – completed the feat in 11 days.
Belford farmer, Mr Brewis, said: “It was good fun but it was a challenge. It was tough at times and there were a few obstacles on our way, like punctures and buckled wheels. Everyone did well to get through it.”
The epic journey saw them leave Beal before catching a ferry from North Shields to Amsterdam and travel through Holland and Belgium before completing the journey to southern France.
The group were backed-up by a dedicated support team of David Burn, Ian Manners and David Craig.
And while it was a tough challenge, every mile was worth it, as the two charities are close to the guys’ hearts.
Grace Manners, the daughter of Simon and his wife Barbara, underwent surgery shortly after she was born to remove a tumour which was attached to her bowel and bladder.
Stoma Nurse Specialists support and care for children with bowel and bladder disorders helping to manage their conditions at home, at school and in a hospital environment.
The nurses provide the knowledge, support and guidance required to meet the needs of the child and their family.
The cyclists are also former rugby players so Wooden Spoon – the children’s charity of rugby – is an important cause to them.
It wasn’t the first time that the group have pedalled for pounds though.
In 2006, they took to their saddles to cycle from Land’s End to John O’Groats via Ireland to raise money for the Great North Air Ambulance and through sponsorship, auctions, raffles and a party they raised £65,000.
Visit www.8bos.co.uk to sponsor the guys.